The Remains of the Day Book Club Wrap-Up Post

In the last discussion post, we discussed the key themes of duty and dignity. Today, this post is for sharing any general thoughts about the book and any favorite quotes. Here are just a few little tidbits I wanted to share.


The Remains of the Day was made into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Here’s a clip:


Have you watched the movie? If so, please share your thoughts on how you think the book and movie compare.


Did you catch where the title made it’s appearance in the book? It’s not the exact wording of the title but you’ll find it in Day Six – Evening:

“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.” (pg. 244)


The subject of bantering provides some lightness to the novel; but I think that it also plays a part in Stevens growth. In fact, the novel starts out talking about bantering in the Prologue and ends with Stevens’ thoughts on bantering in the last chapter.

Stevens employer, Mr. Farraday, seems to want to have these miscellaneous, light-hearted discussions and Stevens feels he is just not good at it. He is not used to joking around or having light-hearted discussions with his employer; what he’s used to is everything being proper and showing no emotion. He tries to improve on this though.

How does this contribute to Stevens’ growth? Towards the end when he’s at the house where several people have gathered and are talking, he sees the warmth and liveliness of the conversation. He says:

“Listening to them now, I can hear them exchanging one bantering remark after another. It is, I would suppose, the way many people like to proceed. In fact, it is possible my bench companion of a while ago expected me to banter with him – in which case, I suppose I was something of a sorry disappointment. Perhaps it is indeed time I began to look at this whole matter of bantering more enthusiastically. After all, when one thinks about it, it is not such a foolish thing to indulge in – particularly if it is the case that in bantering lies the key to human warmth.” (pg. 245)

Here he realizes that this type of light-hearted conversation very well may be “the key to human warmth.” (pg. 245) In other words, he begins to see that these types of conversations seem to add to the friendliness and kindredness amongst the people having the conversations. He decides to practice the art of bantering with renewed effort and I think this holds the potential to helping Stevens show more emotion.


What are your overall thoughts of this book? Do you have any favorite quotes? Please share in the comments below.

Also, this is the final post for this book club discussion. Feel free to continue the discussion in the first discussion post for this book  and in the comments of this post.  🙂


3 thoughts on “The Remains of the Day Book Club Wrap-Up Post

  1. On the movie. I’ve seen the movie. I’ve also heard Ishiguro talk about the movie. He thinks the movie is well done, but as another medium, it’s different than the book. But he thinks (and I agree, even before I heard him say), that the acting, specially Hopkins, captures the character in the book. The movie made the ‘romance’ more obvious to me. The unseen emotions, or restrained emotions, show in the movie somehow. Miss Keaton in the movie made the book Miss Keaton more likable. Also, hearing Ishiguro say Miss Keaton feels very alone in the world, (remember her aunt, only relative, and when she goes to her, -after she’s requested that leave way in advance-, Stevens makes her feel “guilty” about leaving him, since something has turned out in the ‘ever-demanding-house’ which is Stevens’s life. Is as if he’s asking her to make the same sacrifice. But Miss Keaton goes to see the aunt, and after her passing, her relationship with Stevens deteriorates. She starts seeing the man who will become her husband.

    And the banter. The second time I got it better. Yes, that ability to take things lightly, to joke in a friendly manner, that’s something Stevens doesn’t have. There’s something as taking life seriously at all times that’s toxic too. His new master is American, maybe Ishiguro is also playing with cultural or stereotypical differences, but America is young, and she’s surely less serious than Old Britain.

    I find this funny, “to practice the art of bantering with renewed effort”, only Stevens will take bantering so seriously as to practice in front of a mirror! lol. But I think he ‘got it’. I see a different Stevens, one at peace somehow with his past, and with his present. He’s not going to change drastically, -nobody does-, but his approach to life I believe it’s going to be different from now on. He’s going to be in the moment, and he’s going to enjoy ‘the remains of his days’. Or that’s what I want to believe, ha ha ha.

    And from the previous comment, (to have it all here now), as you said, I don’t think he accepted who he was, but maybe at the end of the day he has started to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, and favorite quotes (I lent my book, but there’s a favorite line Ishiguro talks about, when Stevens, in talk with Miss Keaton, says, ‘my heart was breaking’. The only time he makes a remark such as that.) Ishiguro mentions he had been toying with the idea of adding a moment like that or not, when he heard a song by a soldier, who doesn’t show much emotions, and he adds a line saying, ‘my heart was broken’, and he liked the effect and thought a man like Stevens would say such a thing, at least once.

    In this video, they talk about that min 12:10, and Ishiguro talks about the movie extensively.

    The song,


  3. I am planning to watch the movie this evening. I’m looking forward to seeing it again after it being years since I saw it last. And I’m looking forward to comparing it with the book. 🙂

    The scene in the book where Stevens’ was practicing the bantering…I chuckled when I read that. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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