The Remains of the Day with Simon Jacobs – Chicago Review of Books


Welcome to another installment of a collaboration between the Chicago Review of Books and the Your Favorite Book podcast. Malavika Praseed, frequent CHIRB contributor and podcast host, seeks to talk to readers and writers about the books that light a fire inside them. What’s your favorite book and why?

This week’s guest is Simon Jacobs, whose latest novel String Follow is a haunting look at Midwest suburbia and the inherent isolation of being a teen. String Follow tracks a sprawling cast of characters and their growing fascination with the bizarre and occult. Narrated by the collective ‘we’ of a controlling force, the novel takes us into the inner minds of scared, lonely teenagers seeking guidance and belonging in a fraught, isolated world. The result is truly shocking, but in a larger sense, not as surprising as we think.

Jacobs deviates from his horror/thriller genre to highlight a favorite book from his Anglophile days, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. This 1988 classic is the simple tale of Stevens, a longstanding English butler who ties his innate self-worth to his service and performance. Slowly, Stevens’s self-concept erodes as he takes a trip to the countryside and examines the course of his life, as well as the decisions and indecisions he’s made through the years. There are spoilers in this episode, so if you have not read the book, please skip minutes 36:45 through 42:30

Jacobs shares his insight on everything from writing the modern teen to interpreting this book in a capitalist system to further reading recommendations. It’s a lively episode and certainly worth a listen.

See Also

Listen to this episode of Your Favorite Book at the link above and stay tuned for more episodes with other writers in the weeks to come. If you enjoy this episode, check out other episodes of Your Favorite Book on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or other major podcast platforms.

Malavika Praseed

Malavika Praseed is a writer, book reviewer, and genetic counselor. Her fiction has been published in Plain China, Cuckoo Quarterly, Re:Visions, and others. Her podcast, YOUR FAVORITE BOOK, is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and various other platforms


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