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The Remains of the Day
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Readalongs > The Remains of the Day (Laura, Leslie, ?)

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LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
With Leslie we were thinking of reading this "contemporary classic" the second half of May; let's say from the 18th?
Anyone interested?


Pink Happy to join in with this. I've been meaning to read it for quite a while.


Greg | 7368 comments Mod
I just read this last month; so although I won't re-read again quite yet, I'll drop in and comment if it's ok. :)


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I would love to read this!


message 5: by Leslie (last edited Apr 28, 2015 05:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leslie | 15985 comments Greg wrote: "I just read this last month; so although I won't re-read again quite yet, I'll drop in and comment if it's ok. :)"

That's fine Greg; glad to have you participate! You too Terry!


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Great group!


Colleen  | 344 comments I'll join. This book is on my challenge list this year.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Good Colleen! Two weeks will fly


Pink Is everyone ready to start this? I have the book on kindle already, so will make it my next read.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
I'll start in one more week I'm afraid! I'll catch up


message 11: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink I can always wait a week, I have plenty more to choose from :)


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I think I need to start next week as well - I always seem to "over book" myself! I just finished one book yesterday, am trying to get caught up with "The White Monkey" and am trying to finish "Middlemarch" by the end of the month with another group.


message 13: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink Terry, I think we all have the same problem! Next week sounds better for everyone, so I'll continue with my other books until then.


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments OK, sounds good. I am on vacation most of next week, so I will catch up also.


Leslie | 15985 comments LauraT wrote: "I'll start in one more week I'm afraid! I'll catch up"

Oh good! I have been in a bit of a reading slump so still have some library books to get through.


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I just didn't want to rush this because I think the story will be so good, you know?


Colleen  | 344 comments I just ordered it from the library and will hopefully finish up Cloud Atlas this long upcoming weekend.


message 18: by LauraT (last edited May 20, 2015 02:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Ok then; we'll start talking about it on the 25 and following days; anyone is of course free to start it as soon as he/she likes!!!


Leslie | 15985 comments I will be starting tomorrow. I've been not reading much lately so I might be slow making progress.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Me too!


message 21: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink Me three!


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I didn't start yet either, trying to get through more of The White Monkey so I don't get it confused with this book.


message 23: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I will be starting tomorrow. I've been not reading much lately so I might be slow making progress."

Unfortunately, although this a great book, it isn't much of a page turner :)


Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments I have it on Audible, sometimes it is easier to listen to something that may otherwise be boring while driving &/ or commuting to and from work.


Leslie | 15985 comments I am finding this easy reading & so well-written! The character of the narrator is evoked so clearly yet without any superfluous words.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Me too Leslie. You feel like "transported" by the words of this old servant...


Leslie | 15985 comments I am reading Day Two - Morning now & just popped in to say (view spoiler)


message 28: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
Yes Leslie I agree completely, (view spoiler)


Leslie | 15985 comments I wonder how much of my response is tinged by the fact that I know what is coming having seen the movie with Anthony Hopkins.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
Agreeing with both of you Greg and Leslie. I also have seen the film, but can't remember it at all, so it is as if I'm reading it for the first time - which actually is the case. Really looking forward going further.


message 31: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink I've just started, only on day 1 so far, but I like the writing. I haven't seen the film, so I have no idea what's going to happen.


Leslie | 15985 comments I have finished Day One. The afternoon section, which is quite short, continued to display (view spoiler)

Pink, the film is worth watching once you finish the book -- great sets & costumes as well as some excellent actors.


message 33: by Shirley (last edited May 29, 2015 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shirley | 4177 comments I'm so tempted to join in with this, albeit a bit late to thr party! I'll see how I get on with The New York Trilogy, but I've already read 100 pages this afternoon (not at work today!) so may get it finished quite soon!

And the film is excellent, Pink.


message 34: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink I've finished day 1, which dragged on a bit for me. I'm not sure if all this talk about what makes a perfect butler is supposed to be amusing or ironic, but I just found it boring. I'd liked it before though, so hoping it will pick up again.


Leslie | 15985 comments I read Day 3 and just want to jot down some thoughts that occurred to me about the evening section.

Stevens attitude at the start of this section when (view spoiler)

Then later when he is reminiscing about Miss Kenton and (view spoiler)


Shirley | 4177 comments Have decided to join you all in this. Had started this a couple of years ago, but didn't get very far, so I'd liked to see if I can actually finish it this time! Also, I loved the film.


message 37: by Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition (last edited Jun 01, 2015 08:14PM) (new) - added it

Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition | 552 comments Great, Shirley! I am just starting this book too.


message 38: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink I'm going to read more of this today, hope to get a lot further in.


Leslie | 15985 comments I ended up loving this! My review does contain some mild spoilers for those who are unfamiliar with the basic plot but you can read it here if you want to.


Colleen  | 344 comments I'm starting it tonight. So many books, so many movies. And too little time :)
Just finished Cloud Atlas, which I enjoyed.


message 41: by Greg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
Pink wrote: "I've finished day 1, which dragged on a bit for me. I'm not sure if all this talk about what makes a perfect butler is supposed to be amusing or ironic, but I just found it boring. I'd liked it bef..."

To be honest, I also found the pacing slow in spots, though I did love the book regardless.


Shirley | 4177 comments I'm enjoying this; I've just finished day two, and keep seeing Anthony Hopkins in the role as Stevens as I read.


Leslie | 15985 comments Shirley wrote: "I'm enjoying this; I've just finished day two, and keep seeing Anthony Hopkins in the role as Stevens as I read."

Yes, having seen the movie first I also saw Hopkins and Emma Thompson as Stevens and Miss Kenton.


message 44: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink I've read a bit more now, I'm just over half way through and enjoying it again! It's still quite slow, but i don't mind the pace as long as the subject keeps me interested. It seems quite sad at the moment and I have a feeling that this isn't going to improve.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
I've finished it. Since not all of you have already finished it I'll wait a little to comment. I can only say I'm wondering why it took me so much to read it; one of the best book I've read these years.


message 46: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink I've finished day 3, lots to think about. I'm most enjoying the sections about Miss Kenton, not so much the other reminiscences, or details of his journey, even if they are building up a bigger picture of Stevens' character.


message 47: by Pink (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pink Okay, I finished. The book flowed so nicely that it was hard to put down. Unfortunately I still had much the same problems with it and my feelings are pretty mixed. Glad to have read it though and I'm going to check out some of your spoilers and reviews now!


Shirley | 4177 comments LauraT wrote: "I've finished it. Since not all of you have already finished it I'll wait a little to comment. I can only say I'm wondering why it took me so much to read it; one of the best book I've read these y..."

I feel much the same, Laura - when I first tried to read this, I couldn't get into it, and put it down. Now I can't understand why! I absolutely love the way Stevens is so well depicted - he has trained himself to restrict his emotions and is so conditioned to "do the right thing" by his "superiors", that he is even prepared to lay aside his own feelings, so buried inside him, I don't think he knows how to retrieve them.


LauraT (laurata) | 13144 comments Mod
The thing that I've liked most, a part from this impossibility of retriving his emotions, was the "historic" view: I knew some English lord mainly were "sympathising" with right wings and nazi movements; written in the "indirect" way was really interesting


message 50: by Greg (last edited Jun 05, 2015 08:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Greg | 7368 comments Mod
I like that Laura, 'indirect.' That's it exactly! Everything in the book is buried - you see evidence of things but nothing directly.

One of my favorite parts, aside from where (view spoiler), is the hilarious argument over bed linens in Day 2, morning. Miss Kenton must be ready to burst a blood vessel, Stevens' behavior is so annoying ... and then shortly afterward when he hides behind a rhododendron bush, completely unaware of the ridiculousness of his position. Much as he would be impossible to deal with in real life, his behavior is endearing somehow, I think because the poor man is so helplessly self-deluded.

And then on the other end of the spectrum, Stevens' self-delusion leads to things that are heartbreaking - for instance, (view spoiler) So inexpressably sad, the misdirection and stuntedness of his life, the denial of even the simple pleasure of natural human interaction. But that was what was expected of the 'best' butlers, and that's the true tragedy.

It's as though this generation of butlers determined to defeat nature itself; they were expected to discard all that was inside themselves for the betterment of their masters and supposedly for the betterment society itself. After paying such a terrible price, no wonder Stevens can't admit even to himself his master's own misguidedness between the wars, his master's own faults.

And despite the terrible sacrifice Stevens has made in his life, here he is alone at the end; his sacrifice is unhonored. And his new American employer has no idea what that sacrifice even meant.

So yes, even though I agree Pink that some of Stevens' long discursions on butlering and honor did move a bit slowly (was not a page turner for me), I still love the book for its power in conveying the quiet, unregarded loss in the life of this reserved man and for doing so with such dignity and grace!


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