An elderly butler is on a five-day motoring trip through the West Country in the 1950s. The climax of his journey is to be a reunion with his former housekeeper. This 1989 Booker Prize-winner attempts to capture a period in British history and draw a portrait of a man in old age.
The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.
The Booker Prize-winning novel is now a film from Columbia Pictures starring Academy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving "a great gentleman." But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness" and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.
Michael York has performed with Britain's National Theater as well as on Broadway. His film credits include Cabaret and The Three Musketeers. His television work includes "Jesus of Nazareth" and "Space."
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