My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Remains of the Day is a Booker Prize winning novel which was later filmed by Merchant Ivory Productions starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
The novel is written entirely from the point of view of James Stevens, a butler of many years standing, who receives a letter from the house’s former housekeeper, Mrs Benn (nee Miss Kenton), which he takes to mean that she is pining for the life she once had back at Darlington Hall and decides to take a trip to meet up with her.
The book describes the trip that Stevens takes and there are flashbacks a plenty to the days when he was the butler to Lord Darlington who had the great and the good and the not so great around his house at varying times between the end of the first world war and the beginning of the second world war and it is very interesting who these people are alluded to being, in some cases they are directly mentioned and in some cases you have to work out who they are meant to be, which I found to be very interesting whilst reading the book. The book is also about unrequited love and this is shown really well in certain scenes in the book, which make it quite clear how Stevens really feels about Miss Kenton, even if he is unable to show her.
It certainly does not read like a book written in the late nineteen eighties and you would be forgiven for thinking that it had been written many years before say in the fifties which is the present day from the point of view of Stevens in the book.
The book is very similar to the film which makes it a nice viewing experience if you are familiar with the book and if, like me, you read the book after having seen the film then you see all the little details which the film just isn’t able to replicate, and therefore I believe that you get a much richer experience than just watching the film alone.