Posted by: Naomi | May 20, 2011

The Remains Of The Day

I read an article the other day where someone was talking about the books that they read recently. They were referring to a book they read by Nabokov, and described it as “bloody hard work, but really thrilling.” Until I read this article, I hadn’t really thought about how it could be hard work to read a book. Reading seems like the easiest, most natural thing in the world to me. Occasionally though, I will admit, some books do require a bit of hard work to push through at times. The Remains Of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro did take a bit of pushing at times, but it was all in all an enjoyable book. Reading it brought to mind listening to an elderly gentleman in a retirement home, telling his life story. It may jump around a bit as far as chronology, and it may not even be interesting all the time, but it is his own story, and there is catharsis in the telling. The character of Stevens, who has willingly spent his entire life in the service of others, reflects on how he spent his life, the things that he feels are important, and the reassurance that he has served a moral and distinguished man, and therefore has not wasted his life. At times, his character seems so stoic, his language so carefully modulated, that he comes across as almost robotic. At other times, we are able to see his deeply held feelings and beliefs, and his reasoning for certain actions. Although not an exciting book, this was a worthwhile tale of the sum of a man’s life, and a reminder of the importance of character and dignity.

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