I was waiting for a train when I got this book, I already had something to read with me but whatever it was I just wasn't in the right mood for it but suddenly, and for the first time in years, Wodehouse felt like just the ticket. I wasn't wrong. Many years ago when I was in my early teens I pinched my mothers Wodehouses - mostly Jeeves and Wooster titles with a few Blandings books thrown in and by no means a complete collection (sorry mum) - I only realised how many books he wrote about a decade later. Whichever way you look at it Wodehouse is a comic genius - which is just as well because sometimes the odds are stacked against him - I think he's been inflicted with particularly nasty covers at the moment (I wouldn't have picked this book up if I didn't already know I liked him) and I didn't particularly enjoy the BBC adaptation of Blandings. It might get better but the pantomime approach really didn't appeal to me - the colours were to bright, the hair to big, and the pace to frantic for me.
On the other hand if it helps Wodehouse find a new audience than I'm all for it, A.A Gill wrote about him in the Sunday Times - apparently sales are dire (are the covers partly responsible for that?) which truly is a shame. 'The Adventures Of Sally' show Wodehouse in a mode I hadn't come across before. There's a lack of really silly young men and a couple of reasonably convincing young women - intelligent, practical, get ahead types. There's also a genuine sort of love story, but as with any Wodehouse novel I've ever read things like character and plot are secondary to the humour. More than anything he's funny, laugh out loud funny, and in a very charming sort of a way.
I enjoyed Wodehouse when I was much younger because I was fascinated by the 1920's and enjoyed the slangy silliness of it all. I enjoyed him this time round for the same reasons but also for a deeper realisation of how good natured his humour is (a point where I agree with A.A. Gill - there's a first time for everything) and a much deeper appreciation of how he plays around with words. Last time I read Nancy Mitford (it was 'The Water Beetle' which is a collection of articles and not Nancy at her best) it occurred to me how little I would have wanted to meet her - how essentially nasty she can sound - and whilst that frequently makes her funny it can wear thin.
Wodehouse however I would have loved to hear talk. There's not much to say about the book; it's very enjoyable light reading full of jokes which wouldn't be at all funny repeated but which had me giggling all the way through. He's the perfect read for me when I'm feeling low or lazy (I have a few more lined up for the rest of the winter) and if you haven't read him give him a go.
I have read another Wodehouse novel called Doctor Sally whose title character was also the intelligent, practical type. I wonder if she is the same character as the heroine of this book. I am not sure that low sales are really that unusual for older books. I think Agatha Christie is the only early 20th century author who would still get huge sales.ReplyDelete
I'll look out for Doctor Sally. If the figures in the Sunday Times article were to be believed Wodehouse's sales are particularly unimpressive - though presumably that doesn't account for second hand sales so who knows what the true numbers are.Delete
I have this on the tbr shelves so it may be my next Wodehouse. That's what I mean by having a library (as in your last post). I've also just read an enticing review of Gerald Durrell's My family & other animals so I've got that down as well. Of course now I have about 20 books in a tottering pile on the desk & no idea what to start first.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed it Lyn, hadn't met Wodehouse in this form before so it was a treat.Delete
I'm ashamed to say I've never read a Wodehouse! I came to associate his books with the ancient old men who would come in to the book shop to buy them when I was in my 20s and they took on rather a tinge of the antique. Now I see that I was wrong, and he seems to appeal to a wider demographic than I imagined. You've convinced me that I should do my part and boost his sales!ReplyDelete
It's a fair assumption, he is quite old fashioned but also fun in a silly way and should definitely be tried.Delete
I've never read Wodehouse either. I'll put this on my TBR list.ReplyDelete
He's worth a read Ann, and I realise now that I didn't mention that Sally is an American and that most of the action takes place in New York and Long Island with some excursions to France and England.Delete