Act two of my ‘books into films’ series : The Remains of the Day
I usually read a novel before I watch a movie to avoid tarnishing the tale with any preconceived notions consciously or subconsciously embedded in my brain. The Remains of the Day was one exception and I didn’t mind the reversal in this instance. I loved both book and film equally. Kazuo Ishiguro is a writer whose elegant prose leaps of the page like a skilful arabesque. Immediately I was transported to the world of English aristocracy and the lives of their staff between the two wars.
Ishiguro’s voice is heard through Stevens, a long-serving and loyal butler for whom tradition and discretion are paramount. There is something very sentimental about this book that I read with endearing fondness. Stevens as narrator is quiet, traditional and naive but incredibly likeable. I couldn’t help but fell a bit sorry for him – lost loves and a life that could have been. Stevens is entirely unflappable; he manages to almost overflow with dignity in the face of the decaying traditions around him. The virtues he hold dear, especially loyalty, cement Stevens as a character of enormous worth and credibility. In many ways he is the true master of the house staunchly defending his employer, Lord Darlington, until the last page.
This is a very sweet novel and one I always think of with great fondness. It should be read sitting under a tree in a beuatiful garden (or at least sitting next to a pot plant on the couch).
* This novel also holds the illustrious position of being awarded eight Academy Award nominations as well as winning the coveted Man Booker prize in 1989.