What most immediately impresses about The Remains of the Day - as is often, though not always, the case with novels told in the first person - is the startling authenticity of voice. It is so thorough, so mannered, and so convincing, in fact, that I am almost tempted to hold off reading another work by Ishiguro for quite some time, if only because it will inevitably shatter the illusion that he is not, in fact, a pseudonym for some aging butler who is really out there, somewhere, fictionalizing his own experiences. The quality of the prose slices through that of sloppier novelists like a butler, as it were, cutting through a shoddily sealed envelope with a letter opener. The prose is diligent, worked on, crafted; more, it feels somehow starched. Ironed. Nary a crease or wrinkle - precisely akin to the professional neatness with which a butler carries out his tasks. At times, granted, it is unnecessarily well-structured and tidy, to the point that one suspects human beings do not really write like that - but that, of course, is part of the point. This is the façade that cracks, the tapestry that unravels: Ishiguro wants to show us the mannerisms that are put up as a front, and if they are to convince as a front they need to be as absolute as possible.
Above all, do not lose love to that which is meant but not said.