The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
(4.5)
Ouch.

Talk about tragic. Stevens is one of the most interesting characters to read about (and whose POV is one of the most interesting to read), because on the surface he's the absolute most boring person. He's so wrapped up in his own concept of "dignity" that he can't separate himself from it. Basically, Stevens's idea of dignity is to remain in his role as butler even through trying events. But he has become so attached to his own ideal that he's lost in it, and he's lost himself and nearly any ounce of personality he may once have had. His dignity is all he is, and because of it he misses out on what's important in his own life.

I feel like I can call Stevens an unreliable narrator, because I believe he misleads readers about his own feelings. Not deliberately, though. He's suppressed his emotions for so long that suppression has become part of who he is. It comes through in the masterful way the POV is written. Really, the writing and crafting of this novel is so beautiful and well thought through.

Most of the time, I only get to glimpse how Stevens actually feels about something when other characters express concern for him ("Are you all right?" "Have you been crying?" etc. Or something like that--these are from memory . . .). He keeps so much to himself that when he actually, truly lets himself be vulnerable (and you know what part I'm talking about!), it's just--ouch.

It's just one line, but it seems to bring the entire book together into the tragic love story that it is.