One summer, the ageing blogger of Darlington Hall embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the English countryside and into his past
Browsing through the secondhand section of Blackwell’s, I came across a novel which I feared had gone out of print. A friend from university had recommended it to me but I had never been able to find it. I had only read it once, after which his copy had suffered when it was used in a bizarre bicycle rage incident on Woodstock Road.
As I held the book in my hands, flicking through the yellowed, mildew cornered pages, I was seized with an unknown urge, a memory of a time which I had never experienced other than through the pages of this almost forgotten book: The Remains of the D.
It’s an intriguing tale, centred on a repressed and uptight blogger whose duty to his site prevents him from enjoying the world around him, something he only realises in hindsight, when his journey to meet a commenter allows him to reflect upon the major events that have occurred throughout his “archives”.
Although there are scenes which are utterly touching such as when the housekeeper is attempting to see what site he is browsing and he reluctantly admits that it is a romance site there are also segments of the book when his stoicism in the face of events goes beyond normal human behaviour.
The dustjacket describes the book as “a haunting tale of lost causes and a lost love” and although there is undoubtedly despair the pain of choices made and choices rued there is also some levity and amusement to be gained from the touching relationship between the housekeeper and the blogger.
Despite my best efforts to shoplift the book, Blackwell’s shop detective took me to the counter and I paid my £2.20 before collecting my boater, leaving the shop and heading off to read the book by the river with my teddy bear.