The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
The novel is set in 1956, the year the Suez crisis marked the complete end of the British Empire. After the death of his master, Stevens - the protagonist-narrator - begins a solitary six-day motor trip to Cornwall. A model English
butler in his sixties, he has devoted his whole life to serving Lord Darlington, the former owner of a large stately home, Darlington Hall, now let to a rich American businessman. As Stevens leaves the familiar landscape of Oxfordshire he starts a difficult journey through his own memory, recalling facts and events - both personal and public - that happened at Darlington House some thirty years before. His travel journal reveals far more to the readers than to the protagonist
himself. He firmly believes that he is making the trip for professional reasons, to try to persuade Miss Kenton, a former housekeeper, to go back to Darlington Hall and work for its new tenant. However, the reader soon realizes the true reason is instead personal, as Stevens had been in love with Miss Kenton but had been unable to reveal his feelings and let her marry another man. The narrative develops mainly through long flashbacks , whose central theme is the relation between Stevens and his master. Far from the great man Stevens believed , Lord Darlington had been a political pawn of the Nazis and supported the German policy against the Jews. Stevens fights with himself to accept what is clear to the reader from the very beginning, and slowly it becomes evident that he has been deceiving himself all his life.
In the end, Stevens understands that making up for time is impossible and that he cannot correct his past mistakes. Miss Kenton refuses his offer and decides to go on with her life. After meeting her, he finally realizes both of them have missed the opportunity of being happy together. The source of his pride - his being a "perfect" butler- in the end turns out to be the cause of his failure , of his emotionally empty life and repressed love. The last image of the novel, the ageing butler sitting alone at sunset by the seashore, reveals that what remains of Steven's day is only loneliness, since and self-