Episode 2: Still a Classic? The Remains of the Day

SAC the remains

In episode two of Still a Classic, Leah and Susan talk about the 1989 novel The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which follows Stevens, a head butler with a long record of service at Darlington Hall, an English estate. It won the Booker Prize, was made into an acclaimed 1993 film, and was cited when Ishiguro went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.

Things we discussed:

The role of the unreliable narrator

What is the meaning of duty, especially when it comes to your employer? (Stevens struggles to accept that Lord Darlington was a Nazi sympathizer.)

Did The Remains of the Day inspire characters in Downton Abbey? You be the judge.

The subject matter is resolutely antiquated; the narration is unbendingly formal and the plot unfolds very, very slowly. More than three decades after publication, is The Remains of the Day still a classic?

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