I’m making good progress through my reading resolution list – largely thanks to more than 5 hours spent on train journeys on one day. But, my reading order has gone out the window.
From the number of times I mention Never Let Me Go, it’s pretty obvious it’s one of my favourite books. I’ve tried only one other Ishiguro novel – A Pale View of Hills – and found that equally compelling. I’ve had The Remains of the Day recommended to me so many times I thought it was time to give it a chance – even though the glimpses I’ve seen of the Anthony Hopkins/Emma Thompson film didn’t give me much hope. It always felt so stilted.
This is one of those books that belongs to the long line of novels dealing with the post war decline of the big house in English society – there were immediate links to it’s counterpart Atonement in many respects. But I think this is probably the first of these novels that’s been I’ve read that’s been written from the ‘downstairs’ perspective.
And what a perspective! Such an annoying and frustrating (should that be frustrated?) character I think I’ve yet to meet. This dessicated character’s sense of his own importance is bound up with that of his master’s, and he views history from the sidelines while those around him (even his dying father) fail to reach beyond this surface quest for ‘dignity’ which comes at the expense of humanity.
Last year I completed an online course introductory course in literary theory, and just wish I had the time to give this a detailed political analysis – I’m sure Marxists would have a field day with this.
Anyway, i felt I had to vent about this character. Now it’s onwards to the blind assassin!