kazuo ishiguro’s 1989 booker winner the remains of the day was a fast, if uneventful, read. it was well-written and flowed easily, but i didn’t find it as captivating as most others who have read it.
the remains of the day follows stevens, the elderly butler at one of england’s last great estates, as he takes a road trip across england. as he drives, stevens reminisces on his years spent in service and the adventures that took place in darlington hall, his home, in the first half of the twentieth century.
darlington hall – and therefore stevens – saw a lot of action in the years between the world wars, as lord darlington appears to have had quite a lot of influence with the home office. as the butler overseeing the house, stevens was privy to a lot of information as he went about his duties, and he relates those back to the reader and to those he encounters along his journey throughout the book.
he talks of seeing winston churchill and the german ambassador in the house. he discusses social and political events that took place during the time, all the while interspersing it with stories of his interactions with miss kenton, the housekeeper at darlington. miss kenton seemed like a firecracker of a woman, while stevens just kind of appeared to be always around, always observing but not necessarily participating in life.
it was rather interesting to read this having just completed the final season of downton abbey. carson, the butler at the abbey, is very against all of the modern changes taking place in the house and has trouble finding his place amongst all the modernity, and in some ways that applies to stevens as well. his heights as a butler were about forty years after carson’s, but they share a number of similarities between them, and that did give an interesting perspective to my reading.
other than that, however, it was a book like any other, just better written.
my goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 // average rating is 4.09
currently reading: making my way through fates and furies and a path appears [hoping to finish both before heading to pondicherry on friday]; just started prisoner of azkaban.
next booker winner: a s byatt’s possession. i know absolutely nothing about it at the moment, so i am keeping my expectations low.