Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: English
Translated from: English
Authors: Ishiguro, Kazuo
Translated by: Žukaitė, Mėta
ISBN: 9986-02-861-2
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2000
Publisher: Alma litera

“..for a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so, much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day.” – with these words, in last pages of Kazuo Ishiguro novel “The Remains of the Day” the main character, an elderly English butler named Stevens, tries to encourage himself to turn over a new leaf and leave his past behind. Now, in the year of 1956, everything is changed: his lord is dead, a beloved house that he was taking care of for many years lost its greatness and new lord is an American who expects a slightly different qualities from a butler than the English gentleman did.

The action of the book is taking place in three different planes. First one is in a present day in which Stevens is going on a trip with a purpose to meet a lady who he has worked with in the past and who, even without his understanding, was a very important part of his life. Second one is in a past – the character tells stories about his work years in Darlington Hall – one of the most important manor house during the interwar period in England and the owner of this house for who Stevens served to for many years. Service for the main character has no negative meaning as it has become a part of his dignity, the thing Stevens thinks a lot about and his contemplations about it take third plane of the book.

Author skillfully transmits the 20th century life of the English manor house and diverse characteristics of people. There is a slight love story plot line too that allows the reader to understand and go deeper into the main character. There are many characters in the book who obviously take more important parts than others but all of them are essential to make an impression and help to comprehend the book: people who work with Stevens, important gentlemen who come to Darlington Hall to solve international importance questions, Stevens’ father despite his appearance only in a very short period of the story line and others. In “The Remains of the Day” one can find the historical elements and philosophical deviations and questions which fit not only for the book but can be adapted to people, nowadays human beings.

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in 1954 in Japan but he and his parents moved to England when the boy was only five years old. So there is no question why in the book England is described in a specific way. Sometimes as if it was seen from completely different point of view.  “The Remains of the Day” (1989) won “Man Booker” award. In 1993 a film adaption was made that got 8 nominations in the Oscars. K. Ishiguro himself won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU