Thumbs up for The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. Literature.
One might think that the reminiscences of a butler who served in a country house from the 20’s through the 50’s might be a bit of a bore – and depending on how much blood and sex you demand from a book, you might be right – but I, like many others, was carried along by the pitch-perfect cadence of Stevens’s narration. With each anecdote he relates, further layers of his understatedly tragicomic character are revealed. How can you not smile at a man who considers the proper polishing of silver with the intensity most of us reserve for matters of life and death? And, in the end, how can you not respect him, as flawed a human being as he is? I read this book in a few hours, and I will remember him forever. A work of genius: it well deserves its “modern classic” status.
For instance, I have of late taken to listening to the wireless in my room whenever I find myself with a few spare moments – on those occasions, say, when Mr Farraday is out for the evening. One programme I listen to is called Twice a Week or More, which is in fact broadcast three times each week, and basically comprises two persons making humorous comments on a variety of topics raised by readers’ letters. I have been studying this programme because the witticisms performed on it are always in the best of taste and, to my mind, of a tone not at all out of keeping with the sort of bantering Mr Farraday might expect on my part. Taking my cue from this programme, I have devised a simple exercise which I try to perform at least once a day; whenever an odd moment presents itself, I attempt to formulate three witticisms based on my immediate surroundings at that moment. Or, as a variation on this exercise, I may attempt to think of three witticisms based on the events of the events of the past hour.
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