I've been slacking in keeping tally on here, so this is me catching up, starting with The Remains of the Day
James Stevens, the aging butler of a once grand house, has a world view confined to the realm of his profession. When the opportunity arises to take a trip across 1950s England to visit a former work colleague Stevens reflects on the nature of his job, his former employer Lord Darlington, and the woman whom he is about to visit.
This book is one of the most understated books I've ever read, and its way one of the most melancholic. The story of his devotion to the job, while his father lay dying upstairs is one good example. Steven's quiet pride in his ability to continue his job while his father lay dying upstairs was just so very sad, as was the way in which he not only defended Lord Darlington but spoke of his 'honour' at being in a position of service to great world events.
In the end Stevens realises that his quest for dignity has cost him a life of love and fulfillment, which was the saddest moment of all. But, like a true butler, he drives back to the house to face his most pressing concern - how to react when his new American boss banters with him.
I loved this book. It's so quiet and elegant, and although you probably wouldn't think it there are some truly funny moments in there. I definitely recommend it.