Tuesday, 14 January 2014

:Thinking of The Remains of the Day

“One is not struck by the truth until prompted quite accidentally by some external event.”

                Have you ever felt the anxiety (or say temptation) to talk to somebody to share the warmth of the words, the directions of the story, the flaws of the characters, the complexity of the situations of the book that you were reading. It has not happened with me many times earlier but while I was reading the book “The Remains of the Day”, I distinctly remember that after I had read the chapter where Mr. Stevens stood gracefully on his duty even after knowing that his father has died, I had this huge urge to talk to someone who had already read the book and discuss the flaws (virtues) of Mr. Stevans. And now that I am writing this, I wonder what an amazing oasis internet is where one can quench his thrust of knowedge and sharing. If I had searched the internet then, I might have found scores of discussion-boards on this best-selling book.

                “The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.”

                The story is set in England of 1950s and told in a first-person narrative by Mr. Stevens, the old butler of Darlington Hall where he shares with us how different and modern his new master Mr. Faraday is and how is he finding himself incapable of quick repartee when his master shares some light moments with him. When his master provides him opportunity to travel to English country in his blue Ford car, he grabs it after mixing business with the pleasure of the travel. The business of meeting Miss Kenton, ex-house-keeper of Darlington Hall and pursue her to come and join the house-keeping staff of the hall once again as he is under-staff and she has thrown some hints of the breaking of her marriage in her latest letter to Mr. Stevens.

 “After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”

The book then leads us to the magnanimous sceneries of the country side of England and throughout the journey he kept reminiscing of the glory days of Darlington Hall, the specific affairs in the pre-war era which were quite important in his journey of butlery, his personal trials and his moments of victory and most importantly his relationship with Miss Kenton. And as one presumes that finally his journey would end up with his union again with Miss Kenton, the book took the more realistic path.

 "The evening's the best part of the day. You've done your day's work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.”

                Kazuo Ishigaro is the hero in this book for creating the character of Mr. Stevens. Incidentally, through  Wooster-Jeeves series of P G Wodehouse, I had already read of the impeccably formal English style of the butlers and language of the book since it is in first-form narrative form played its part immaculately. Even if the characterization of Mr. Stevens was very professional and keeps aloof yet one connects to him. One feels sad on reading the accounts where Mr. Stevens honours his duty above his personal life and anxious when he feels uncomfortable and wonders what if…

This book has already been made in the 1993 Anthony-Hopkins starrer movie of the same name. After reading the book I sowanted to see the movie and it didn’t disappoint.

I have saved 2 different lists of “100 Books to read before you Die” and while classic books are present in both the lists, both the lists quite differ in the rest of the selection but this book features in both. Since I have not read many classics in life, finding it among the ever-gren classics was great.

“What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.”

And the book lives up to its own quote.

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