Today I want to recommend you two books I’ve finished reading recently.
I’m quite an ardent reader, and what I apprexiate the most in a book is the depth of its argument. Both of the books I am writing about now have this particular quality.
The first one is Kazuo Ishiguro‘s The Remains of the Day. It was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 1989, so this book is not a recent one, but I knew nothing about it until the piece was recommended to me.
The book tells the story of Stevens, a butler, who is facing a difficult time trying to adapt to the new circumstances of his life, as the mansion where he’s served practically all his life got purchased by a new owner. While he is taking a short vacation to travels across the country in order to meet his old colleague, Miss Kenton, Stevens also makes a kind of a journey through the past events of his life.
While the story of the old butler may seem uninspiring at first glance, there is a surprising depth you are bound to discover as you join the protagonist on his trip. There are a lot matters addressed by The Remains of the Day, including dignity, loyalty, human relationships, social prejudice etc. I hate to give out any spoilers, so I won’t disclose any further details about the book. If you are into book that do more than just telling a story, you definitely should not miss this one.
My second recommendation is Primo Levi‘s If This Is a Man (original Italian title: Se questo è un uomo), and it touches on a very delicate matter.
In this book the author tells a story of his own survival in Auschwitz during the Second World War. But what makes this piece of literary art special and separates it from many other works about the Nazi atrocities is that it does not focus on physical torture or brutal killings. What Primo Levi conveys with his words is how the people tried to survive in the environment that was meant to convert them into something less than human beings. Hence the title.
As with the first of my recommendations, I won’t be going into detail. Even if you’ve already read many books about the Second World War and the Holocaust, you still haven’t read a book like If This Is a Man, and you cannot get a full picture without it.
I hope that I haven’t bored you, and you’ve read until this far. These two books have impressed me a lot so I wanted to share my impressions here.
Until next post.