Dan Sandman

#8 The Remains of the Day

In Books, Fiction on 17/02/2017 at 12:00 pm

8-the-remains-of-the-dayThe political naivety of the British aristocracy, between the two wars, is a fit subject for a literary novelist. But rather than choosing to attack the subject from an obvious perspective–for example, that of an aristocrat–Ishiguro tells the butler’s tale. And here lies the genius of the novel, its success as a work of art, an ingenuity which largely springs from narrative inventiveness. Stevens the butler is on a much overdue trip to the beautiful Dorset countryside, through Salisbury, to visit his friend Miss Kenton, as he writes his account of what took place at Darlington Hall during those interim years. Unconsciously motivated to write by concealed romantic feelings, he begins to explore his memories of things gone past. Slowly, beyond the discussions of what makes a great butler, a series of flashes reveal a touching portrait of a man who has always put duty his first; duty to his employer and duty to his staff. Indeed, Stevens is so very dutiful, so very practiced at the art of his craft, that he goes to great lengths to conceal all political and romantic motivation. It is only on this trip of discovery, an opportunity to write down his thoughts, that Stevens gradually begins to unveil the untold observances of what really happened; to open up his mind and his heart to something beyond the morality of, and the motivations behind, his unquestioning duty.

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