Returning to Ishiguro is like slowly sinking into a hot bath on a cold night. From page one I’m lost, luxuriating in the warmth of his exquisite writing.
This Booker Prize-winning book from 1989 is considered his masterpiece. I’d certainly rank it alongside Never Let Me Go, which I read last year.
It tells the story of Mr Stevens, a butler in a grand old house in the English countryside throughout the first half of the 20th century.
It begins as little more than a subtle comedy of manners, like Downton Abbey at its most light. But as it progresses it gradually, almost imperceptibly, becomes something much more: a profound novel about affairs of the state leading up to the Second World War and affairs of the heart in an age and setting that did not allow for passion. It’s about loyalty, dignity and the ways in which we waste our lives. It’s melancholic and beautiful, like all Ishiguro’s work.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Ishiguro is among the greatest writers of our age and this is another five star book.