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My recent blog Reading Wodehouse: a plea for help recorded that I had finished the main body of Jeeves and Wooster stories. I sought advice on what other Wodehouse was out there, and what I should read next. I received a host of helpful comments (at the link: feel free to take a look). Thanks, everyone.
In the light of this advice I have started reading the Folio Society “Plums of Wodehouse” collection, which opens with the magnificent short story Uncle Fred Flits By. I have also read Summer Lightning, the first of six novels set at the inimitable Blandings Castle, in Shropshire.
My Folio Society edition of “Summer Lightning”
To read these works is like discovering a delicious new wine from a much-trusted region: a whole new fountain of pleasure which recalls the original, sublime experience. I look forward to getting to know Uncle Fred, and Blandings, better.
What struck me about Summer Lightning, (more…)
I need help.
I need help from Wodehouse experts, or Kenner as we call them here in Austria.
For years, I have been relishing my father’s Folio Society collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories. I have so far read 14 of them, as reported in my blogs Aunts aren’t gentlemen – 10 quotations, Jeeves and the feudal spirit: 20 delicious quotations, and Right ho, Jeeves – 14 fruity quotations (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).
I have now reached the final boxed set of my father’s collection, which I find comprises six volumes set at Blandings Castle: Summer Lightning (1929); Heavy Weather (1933); Uncle Fred in the Springtime (1939); Full Moon (1947); Pigs Have Wings (1952); and Service with a Smile (1961).
The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Summer Lightning”
My problems are: (more…)
For all you ardent Wodehouse fans, I have fine news.
Much Obliged, Jeeves is one of the funniest Wodehouse books I have read.
The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Much Obliged, Jeeves”
Why is Much Obliged, Jeeves so hilarious? I put it down to a consistency and richness of comic language from start to finish. In between laughing out loud and wiping the tears from my eyes, I noted so many fine lines that I had to cut the total down radically for this blog.
Here is my selection of quotations from Much Obliged, Jeeves:
- I am always glad… to renew my acquaintance with the unbeatable eatables dished up by her superb French chef Anatole, God’s gift to the gastric juices. I have often regretted that I have but one stomach to put at his disposal.
- [Of Aunt Dahlia’s stentorious voice] ‘I wonder whether she ever sang lullabies to me in my cradle. If so, it must have scared me cross-eyed, giving me the illusion that the boiler had exploded.’
- ‘My fiancée wanted me to,’ he said, and as his lips framed the word ‘fiancée’ his voice took on a sort of tremolo like that of a male turtle dove cooing to a female turtle dove. (more…)
What better book to read at Christmas than Right Ho, Jeeves – a festive winter wonderland of Wodehouse, a rich Christmas pudding of Plum?
Right Ho, Jeeves opens with Bertie once more estranged from the genius of Jeeves. This time, the offending sartorial item to which Jeeves objects is a white mess jacket with brass buttons:
He rose, holding a white object. And at the sight of it, I realised that another of our domestic crises had arrived, another of those unfortunate clashes of will between two strong men, and that Bertram, unless he remembered his fighting ancestors, and stood up for his rights, was about to be put upon.
The cover of my Folio Society edition of Right Ho, Jeeves
When Bertie Wooster arrives to Brinkley Court without Jeeves to help him, he is beset not by one, two or three problems but by an unprecedented five, at my count. Most atypically, Bertie causes the resignation of Aunt Dahlia’s fabulous French chef Anatole, who makes a rare appearance:
This wizard of the cooking stove is a tubby little man with a moustache of the outsize or soup-strainer type, and you can generally take a line through it as to the state of his emotions. When all is well, it turns up at the end like a sergeant-major’s. When the soul is bruised, it droops. It was drooping now, striking a sinister note. (more…)
The latter drew, with humility appropriate to a neophyte, on the expertise of Wodehouse specialist Plumtopia – recommended for all things Jeeves and Wooster and beyond.
Sadly, I have been devoting an unreasonable proportion of recent months to a well-known trilogy (note to self: insert link later) which, while fascinating, was not quick, easy or pleasurable to read. Review to follow.
So it was with immense pleasure that I returned last week to Wodehouse, with “Jeeves in the Offing”.
The front and back cover of my Folio Society edition of “Jeeves in the Offing”: Jeeves waits, reading Spinoza, outside the Fox & Goose, while Bertie, within, meets Bobbie Wickham
At my reading this week from my Berlin thriller Blood Summit, someone asked when I found time to write.
I wrote a blog on “Where I write” recently.
A blog on finding time to write is a fine idea – I have added it to my list.
Because, it’s a bummer. Finding time to write is hard: lots of other things I dearly want to do, dear friends, dear family, dear visitors, and a job which I dearly want to do brilliantly.
Sometimes things don’t work out.
Writing at the Wolfgangsee in Austria
Like, this week, I have been away from home all day Friday and Saturday and a bit busy and haven’t got around to writing my planned blog.
Those who know the code of the Pimms will know that the blogs on this site are consistently honest. No fake news here, or indeed fake reviews.
So I have to report, sadly, that “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves” was not my favourite P G Wodehouse book.
In fact, of the mouth-watering shelf-full of Wodehouse I have enjoyed so far since 2017, it comes some way behind Thank You, Jeeves, Ring for Jeeves, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen or indeed Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, all of which I have reviewed on this site (click on links above) and all of which positively heaved with quotables.
The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves”
To say that Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves is less hilarious than some other P G Wodehouse masterpieces, however, is not to say it lacks humour. I feel it has less of a (more…)