Thursday, September 6, 2007


The reflections of a British butler on his life and career, told over the course of a 4-day car trip taken in 1956.

This book is amazing. It has no plot, no character descriptions (you don't even know the main characters' names!), and no honest narrative, and yet it is fascinating and unputdownable. I read the whole thing in a day. Ishiguro is just such a fantastic writer and character builder. I don't know how he suspended an entire novel on (ostensibly) so little. But he did. I've loved him before and I love him again now.

Plus, this book demystifies the whole concept of "butler" for us untutored [me]. And also about what it means to be British. I know he would probably hate me for writing this, but I wonder if Ishiguro is so much more equipped to make this point because he's something of an ethnic outsider himself. But then again, I'm sure I'm not the first close-minded wondering reader who's asked that question, either.

Anyway. Fabulous. The Booker Prize people weren't wrong for 1988.


angelle said...

i LOVED this book. what floors me is how impeccably he stays in character the ENTIRE time... and only breaks down at the very very end. (I wrote a post about this a long time ago). My favorite of the Ishiguro books, even if, plotwise, the least compelling. I LOVE LOVE Ishiguro.

Lisa said...

I love to reference this book as an example of how you really can write a compelling story where almost NOTHING happens if you are a brilliant writer. I also think of it as a great example of a story with an unreliable narrator. This one stayed with me for quite a while after I finished it.

Kate Diamond said...

Ah! Gorgeous cover. That is absolutely beautiful. Who published this edition?

charlieperry said...

I love this book. One of my favourites of all time. I'm from the Westcountry and it makes me homesick to hear him describe his journey.