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Old 03-29-2012, 08:16 AM   #24
caleb72
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I just finished this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I gave it a reasonably uncommon 5 stars.

I would have trouble putting everything into words, but I adored Mr Stevens and was so happy to journey forwards and backwards with him throughout this book. He was a tragic figure who was also quite unreliable as a narrator. His recollections were coloured by the role he "inhabited" as he puts it, and the attempted minimisation - this "dignity" he aspired to - only made my reaction more acute to the events as they transpired.

I actually felt that I understood him in some way and that laced his trip and its destination all the sadder for me.

I have never seen the movie, but I felt that his trip was triggered by a deeper instinct to get out, that his sudden need to see Miss Kenton was some kind of subconscious need to break out of his shell and live. And all the way, I felt reasonably assured that it was going to bear fruit, that he was going to salvage his "remains of the day". If I had seen the movie I wouldn't have been armed with knowledge that would have prevented my own heart breaking with his.

I'm not sure about the 'voice' issues mentioned earlier as I'm afraid I have no real knowledge on how British butlers and lords spoke at that time. I did wonder how Ishiguro knew though. I also thought that the allusion to the Japanese people probably makes sense, but it's far from the what the book means to me just now.

I didn't have as much trouble understanding Miss Kenton's attraction to Mr Stevens. They were both the head of the household in a way and spent a full 6 years together running the house. Even if professionally they would have had to have been close (as close as Mr Stevens ever let anyone get), and as I mentioned earlier I felt that his recollections of events were not quite reliable. I think Miss Kenton probably saw quite a lot through the shell of his professionalism in their frequent cocoa evenings. There are key points in the book where even in the narration there is a confession of sorts of showing feelings - the enjoyment of a romance novel, the tears at his father's death, the albeit restrained emotional reactions to Miss Kenton at various times.

Looks like I did have something to say after all.
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