6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Remains of the Day (Paperback)
Affable, balmy and agreeably contemplative piece chronicling a royal butler reminiscing his "good old days" serving a Nazi sympathising employer in an Oxfordshire mansion, as he ventures on a small trip to visit an erstwhile colleague. A first person monologue throughout, it is engaging as the protagonist's meditations on the attitudes and bigger questions of life emanating from his experiences as a butler: his unquestioning servility, morality, ethics, duty, professionalism, his "purpose" in life, dignity, politics and one's "role" in the world: all get visited by him. He's a jolly good [though sanctimonious-to-the-point-of-hilarious] fellow who you relate to instantly as he struggles to have a casual banter. Oh, just to read the passages minutely detailing an awkward conversation's dynamic make this worth a pick. It maps a life that is quite limited in its realm, hence the suggestions of conflicts brewing far deeper than our hero can imagine, right below his nose add a lot to the gravitas. What you take home is the soothing, reconciliatory tone that runs throughout, and a rather deep understanding of the British way of restraint that is so fundamental to their expression, besides a comprehensive account of the cultural-specific phenomenon of butlers and valets [perfect companion to Altman's Gosford Park].