Kazuo Ishiguro on 'The Remains of the Day'

I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash”. During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9am to 10.30pm, Monday through Saturday. I’d get one hour off for lunch and two for dinner. I’d not see, let alone answer, any mail, and would not go near the phone. No one would come to the house. Lorna, despite her own busy schedule, would for this period do my share of the cooking and housework. In this way, so we hoped, I’d not only complete more work quantitively, but reach a mental state in which my fictional world was more real to me than the actual one.
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This, fundamentally, was how The Remains of the Day was written. Throughout the Crash, I wrote free-hand, not caring about the style or if something I wrote in the afternoon contradicted something I’d established in the story that morning. The priority was simply to get the ideas surfacing and growing. Awful sentences, hideous dialogue, scenes that went nowhere – I let them remain and ploughed on.

I just finished The Remains of the Day, the first time I’ve ever read Ishiguro.  To say this book inhabit its own world is an understatement. 

There are certain members of our professional who would have it that it ultimately makes little difference what sort of employer one serves; who believe that the sort of idealism prevalent amongst our generation — namely the notion that we butlers should aspire to serve those great gentlemen who further the cause of humanity — is just high-flown talk with no grounding in reality. It is of course noticeable that the individuals who express such skepticism invariable turns out to be the most mediocre in our profession — those who know they lack the ability to progress to any position of note and who aspire only to drag as many down to their own level as possible — and one is hardly tempted to take such opinions seriously. But for all that, it is still satisfying to be able to point to instances in one’s career that highlight very clearly how wrong such people are. Of course, one seeks to provide a general, sustained service to one’s employer, the value of which could never be reduced to a number of specific instances — such as that concerning Lord Halifax. But what I am saying is that it is these sorts of instances which over time come to symbolize an irrefutable fact; namely that one has had the privilege of practising one’s profession at the very fulcrum of great affairs. And one has a right, perhaps, to feel a satisfaction those content to serve mediocre employers will never know — the satisfaction of being able to say with some reason that one’s efforts, on however modest a way, comprise a contribution to the course of history.