Carmina Ravanera's Reading Recommendation:
I rarely ever reread novels, but I do return to Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. Ishiguro’s story is written from the perspective of the stoic butler Stevens as he grapples with notions of duty, purpose, and love on a trip through the English countryside. It is a masterful and ultimately heartbreaking narrative about realizations made all too late. I read it for the first time as a teenager, then for an English literature class in university, and a couple more times in my twenties. I still remember my English professor telling my class that every time she reaches the end of this book, she cries a little harder than the last time she read it.
In 2017, when Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature, he gave a lecture that offered some insight into his writing of The Remains of the Day: he revealed that a Tom Waits song, “Ruby’s Arms”, influenced the book’s ending, and that many singers have affected his works. He said, “Catching something in their voices, I've said to myself: ‘Ah yes, that's it. That's what I need to capture in that scene. Something very close to that.' Often it's an emotion I can't quite put into words, but there it is, in the singer's voice, and now I've been given something to aim for.”
I often think about these lines when I am writing. How can I capture the complex emotions that I feel when listening to music in my words, phrases, and paragraphs? It is a mighty task, and The Remains of the Day remains an inspiration.
Carmina Ravanera is a writer and researcher of Filipino and Indian descent. Her fiction has been published in Room and her articles have appeared in several publications including Policy Options and Corporate Knights. Carmina has lived in both London, Ontario and London, UK, and now resides in Toronto.
Carmina's story "Beach Day" was featured in the BIPOC Solidarities issue of The Fiddlehead. To read the story and more order your copy today!