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'The Remains of the Day' by Kazuo Ishiguro (1 Viewer)

Stewart

Senior Member
A short monologue (about 250 pages) dictated by Stevens, the Butler of Darlington Hall in the 1950s who, on the recommendation of his new American employer, takes a trip out to the English countryside.

Of course, priding himself on his professionalism, he uses the trip for work purposes in the hope of recruiting a former worker back to Darlington Hall after he had convinced himself that, from her letter, she wanted to return.

So off he goes and all the while he recalls the major events of Darlington Hall during the 1930s as his employer, Lord Darlington, dabbles in politics and demonstrates Nazi sympathies - a man more influenced by others than someone to aspire to. All the while, of course, Stevens is the consummate professional and his attitude to his master is one of love and respect, a man whom he would obey without question.

The prose is sweet. Stevens’ voice is smooth, well constructed, and so utterly natural, and his musings over trying to come to terms with the world via such minor quibbles as perfecting the art of bantering demonstrate a wonderful character. Polite the whole way through his language only falters when it almost seems his emotions are about to better him and tears are ready to gush.

Written in the late 1980s this Booker Prize winner from Ishiguro is an interesting look at professionalism and I think, at least to me, it demonstrates how we need to find a balance between achieving our goals and being true to ourselves.
 
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