Books: The Remains Of Shanghai

Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel plays reality games

Imagine a narrator-hero who tells his story without noticing how little of it he truly understands. Or rather, don't imagine such a creature, because Kazuo Ishiguro has already done so brilliantly in the figure of Stevens, the self-deluding butler-protagonist of The Remains of the Day (1989). And it seems at first as if the author is up to the same sort of trick in his new novel, When We Were Orphans (Knopf; 336 pages; $25). Christopher Banks, who has become a prominent London detective during the 1930s, displays all of Stevens' careful, fussy punctiliousness in recounting the events of his life...

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