Review: The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

theremainsofthedayAfter The Buried Giant I wanted to give Ishiguro one more go. This is his highest rated book on goodreads, it was yellow (for rainbowthon!) and it seemed like a good book to read on holiday – so it ticked a lot of boxes I wanted it to! It was a good choice.

This is a very gentle book following the story of Stevens, a butler as he takes a much needed holiday in the English countryside at the behest of his employer. We visit the past as we meander through the country with him and see the world, and the people in it, through is eyes. We learn of his love, his loss, his devotion and ultimately, what an unreliable narrator he is. This book is a book of love and regret, the things that shape and define us, our loyalty and our memory. It was beautiful.

It is a very thoughtful book and is honestly one of the best books told from the first person POV that I have ever read. I can see why it won the Booker prize when it was written because it is a masterful piece of writing.

I think I would have been kinder to this in my rating had I not just read a book by Virginia Woolf right before it, a book that is striking in its similarity to this. The stream of consciousness, the theme of lost time – they were wonderful to read together. However I still happily gave this a 4/5 because it was just so beautifully written, it was one that I felt invested in. I think, had I have read this prior to To the Lighthouse I may have given it 5/5.

Review: To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

tothelighthouseI picked this up as a holiday read – it was honestly the perfect thing to read, kicking back in the sun!

Virginia Woolf is an artist and words her medium. She is a genius and I cannot fully express my love for her. The few hours that I spend reading this book, so totally and utterly engrossed in this were some of the best of my holiday.

I really find it hard to let go of a novel by Woolf, it is always one that leaves me hanging; wanting to go back to the start. This will be one I revisit in the sunshine; be it this year or next either way I will read this again, more than once.

It was by no means an easy read. It required concentration and my full attention for 4 or 5 hours to read and fully appreciate but it was totally worth it. She forms sentences so beautifully and intricately that it was impossible to read this with any kind of distraction.

This book is split in to three parts. In the first, we meet the Ramsey family – very little happens, we just follow these characters, spending time in each of their heads and jumping around. It’s just wonderful. Over the course of the novel we follow the plot through several perspectives – men, women and children.

I really don’t feel I can do this book justice. I’m not an academic, at least not in English Literature. But I know a good book when I read one, I can appreciate the artistry and the genius behind it. Virginia Woolf is wonderful and this book is a 5/5 for me.