The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
A magnificent house, a sprawling estate, exquisite dinners, interesting house guests ... all of whom are presented from the point of view of an ageing butler is what makes up the plot of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature 2017, and very rightly so!
Set in 1956, post war England, Stevens is the ageing and long serving butler of the Darlington house, who sets on a road trip along the English country side. His purpose is to meet and discuss the re-hiring of a Miss Kenton, who once served at the house many years ago. What Stevens discovers about himself and about his employers during his journey becomes the crux of this novel. Written as a first-person account, Steven narrates and reminisces about the various situations and adventures that occur during his stay and service at the house. Each of the house guests, the various house parties and of course the trials and tribulations of running a house of the stature of Darlington do propose a comedy of errors, which at times is hard to catch. In spite of his ever so proper attitude towards his duties, Stevens, without emoting much makes the reader emote and how!
The book won the Booker prize in 1989, the year it was first released. Ishiguro's simple yet strong writing brings forth characters which stay with you long after you have finished reading the book. That's what makes the book a classic. The book is also well researched and takes you through history (Hint:Treaty of Versailles). Ishiguro has brilliantly written about love, loyalty and life in a book which I will definitely be reading again and recommending.
I have to make it a point to mention this: I have watched the show Downton Abbey, I have watched it again, I have pretended to be in the show and sometimes, honestly, I wish I was born in that era. And because I have loved that show, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Stevens is Carson and like they say sometimes you imagine how the characters will look when you read a book, I could imagine Stevens as Carson, the butler.
P.S There is also a movie based on the book starring Anthony Hopkins and was, just like the book, very highly acclaimed. Go watch the movie, but please do read the book!