"It is sometimes said that butlers only truly exist in England.
Other countries, whatever title is actually used, have only manservants."
I've been meaning to read The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro ever since I saw the movie version of it starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. And since one of my bookish goals this year is to read books from off my TBR list, I decided it was time I finally checked it out of the library...and checked it off my list.
The book begins with Mr. Stevens setting off on a motoring trip to visit his old friend, Miss Kenton. He hopes to induce her to resume her role as housekeeper at Darlington Hall for his new employer, an American gentleman named Mr. Farraday. While on this trip, Mr. Stevens thinks back on his life and his many years of service as the butler at Darlington Hall. He also reflects on his former employer, his past interactions with Miss Kenton, and on what it means for a butler to serve with 'dignity'. It's a quiet, thoughtful, and sometimes sad novel, but for me it lacked the immediacy of story and place that the movie has. In fact, I found the pacing a bit slow at times. So, while the book is definitely good, I think the movie is better. The novel does have some beautiful writing, however. Just check out this quote:
"Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. 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? ... Surely it is enough that the likes of you and I at least try to make our small contribution count for something true and worthy."
Backlist Reader Challenge: 1 book read; 9 to go.