Kazuo Ishiguro is a Japanese-born British novelist, who has explored controversial topics in fascinating books that have been adapted for the screen.
The first book of this author I read was The Remains of the Day (1989), the fascinating and touching story told by Stevens, the butler. It’s a classic tale about his being the head butler of the household of Lord Darlington in the years preceding World War II. History is written in the manor house during secret political meetings. It is also a tale of Stevens’ complex personality, his struggle to accept his past, the inability to show his emotions. When Miss Kenton enters the manor as the head housekeeper she brings warmth and feelings to the place, emotions that Stevens finds very difficult to display or experience. Theirs is a love story, but will they ever admit it to themselves, let alone to the other?In 2006 Kazuo Ishiguro wrote a totally different novel: Never Let Me Go. It tells a future tale of a time in which children are born and being raised for the sole purpose of serving as ‘spare parts’ to others. Their lives will never be long, they have to start donating at around 16, 18 years old and will die soon after their third or fourth operation, or donation as it is called in the book. The book follows three donors, Ruth, Tommy and Kathy, while they are struggling with their destined fate and trying to make sense of their lives. As heartbreaking as it is, yet it is a fascinating read and you have to keep on reading because you desperately want to know if at least they will survive for many years.
Both books are also adapted for the big screen: Never Let Me Go (2010), with Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield, shows the love triangle, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are in and their struggle to accept their fate. The colouring of the film is somehow subdued, what adds to the feeling of despair not only the children have, but also you as the watcher. When seen on screen, somehow the words and theme of the book are enlarged and you feel drawn into this futuristic world, where people are being born to provide ‘spare parts’ for others. That’s the gruesome part.
The 1993 film Remains of the Day, on the other hand, is a wonderful touching and dramatic film, starring Anthony Hopkins as Stevens and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton. You get to know the characters and love them, with all their shortcomings that make them more humane and more touching. Whereas the film Never Let Me Go was hard to watch in the sense that the theme is so horrible the film Remains of the Day left me with such a great feeling. This is such a wonderful film, you come to know the man behind the butler-mask, so to say, and his complex relationship with miss Kenton, head of the household. It is also a beautiful and touching love story and a stunning timepiece of England in those years and I can recommend this to anyone!
About the Author
Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of six novels, including the international bestsellers The Remains of the Day (winner of the Booker Prize) and Never Let Me Go. He received an OBE for service to literature and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London with his wife and daughter.
|Publisher||Faber & Faber; Main edition (25 Feb. 2010)|
|Publisher||Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 Apr. 2010)|