Wednesday, June 21, 2017

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY by Kazuo Ishiguro


Dearest James,

I know that introduction is a must, polite even, but on this one, I do suggest that we skip that. It is you who matters, and no one else.

Foremost, how was the end of your motoring trip? Was it pleasant on your return? I do hope that none of the inconveniences you encountered on leaving crossed your path on the way home. It was a good thing Mr. Farraday suggested this motoring trip. You’ve been cooked up in that hall for a very long time. Different scenery gave you a new perspective, indeed. Suddenly you grew up in a span of one week.

Ah, yes, I did read your travelogue and musings. I am quite taken by them. It’s very difficult not to be. Although, I did notice that you often answer your own questions. I boldly assume that those are signs not of confusion but of hesitation to acknowledge the truth. It was a bit alarming -hesitation and advancing age. Don’t make a good match, do they?

It was not difficult, as well, to notice the ever-present topic of greatness and dignity throughout your entries. It is apparent that justification is what you seek. Then, yes James, you are a great and dignified butler. But does that account for all the mistakes you’ve made? No, of course not, old chap. Your dignity lies in your ability not to abandon your professional being (as a butler) during trying times. Always the epitome of restraint, calmness, and placidness. Thus by achieving your goal of greatness, and by withholding your inner feelings and belief, you have forgone a most vital aspect of life –relationships. For you see, dignity and greatness will lose its luster and usefulness, like your father before you. Great butlers will come and go, but a good friend, husband, or father will be cherished for all time.

Oh, but James, if only you had taken the leap… 

Alas and alack, regret is not something we should dwell in. It has already pervaded your thoughts for many years. Bless Ms. Kenton for choosing a different path merely to spite you; but fate has spoken, she’s happily married now. She did say all is well, right? Move on; for her sake, James. As for Lord Darlington, his folly is his; they are not yours to suffer. Loyalty is not measured by how much you've tolerated your employer, but by how well you’ve serve them. You should know that by now. Then let the case rest. Correcting the past is a miserable business, after all. I know you’ve already dwelled along this line for a day, since you made no entry on your fifth day on the road. 

The man at the marina was right, there’s nothing fruitful by dwelling in the past. The day is not yet over. There is much to be gained and done still. You are right, work on your bantering. Make light of life by humor. Women do enjoy men with humor. Well, in any case, humor will make you feel younger.

Farewell, James. Bless you on your new endeavor. Do send news of your improvements, if you can.



PS: Just in case you are wondering, I am not someone older. Just someone who enjoys good bantering.

Book details:
Title:  The Remains of the Day
Publication:  January 1, 2010; Vintage
Genre:  Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Originally posted here.


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