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Avatar for Andrea Pearson Andrea Pearson said:
Literary and accessible. Strongly recommended!
posted Sep 27, 2009 at 6:15PM
Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
In the age of gentility that reigned in England’s upper classes, even into the 20th century, it was servants who made the great estates of the great men run like clockwork. Stevens, a dignified gentleman’s gentleman, has served thirty-five years in the service of Lord Darlington and has reached the pinnacle of his profession as head butler. Reserved, proper, and polite, Stevens has dedicated his life to the stiff upper lip. His behavior was correct and impassive when his father lay dying upstairs while Lord Darlington entertained politicians and dignitaries in the pre-World War II days; he was aloof with the beguiling and spirited housekeeper Miss Kenton. But as Stevens ages in the face of approaching changes in the 1950s and 60s, his mask of severity begins to slip and his controlled demeanor begins to crumble under the realization that he has been wallowing in self-deception for most of his life. Lord Darlington is not a “great man,” Miss Kenton became Mrs. Benn long ago, and Stevens is left without ever have experienced any of the simple joys of daily life—including that all-powerful life-altering emotion, love. A final meeting between Stevens and the former (now divorced) housekeeper, which the novel builds to with suspense and style, decides our stoic butler’s fate. Author Kazuo Ishiguro is an Englishman of Japanese descent; when The Remains of the Day was published in England in 1989 it struck deep chords with its native readers. Even for American readers, who lack a history of rigid class structure that’s quite as long, the plight of Stevens is moving and poignant, especially when told in the elegant and precise prose of Ishiguro. A tale of opportunities lost and found, The Remains of the Day is an insightful and illuminating read.
posted Jan 29, 2010 at 12:10AM
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