Posts tagged ‘P. G. Wodehouse’

Cassoulet for the mind – “Jeeves and the Wedding Bells” by Sebestian Faulks

GetImage“Jeeves and the Wedding Bells” by Sebestian Faulks, Published in 2013 

There are novels that are like comfort food for me.  I return to them because they make me feel at home, they remind me of something wonderful. They are my favorite reading discoveries because I finish these books and I just sigh happily, not unlike after eating dark chocolate or bingeing on mashed potatoes or finding an amazing cassoulet, my absolute favorite comfort food (as pretentious as it sounds, it is just simple happiness).  When I first found P.G. Wodehouse it was purely by chance.  My favorite bookstore, The Book Loft, has several shelves dedicated to Wodehouse and I kept walking by and thinking “hmmm, who is this guy?”  So I bought one. And this began my cassoulet-like relationship with Wodehouse.

His foppish characters are always the British upperclass. There are hilarious antics and ridiculous opinions and, well, high jinx, lots o’ high jinx.  There is commentary in his humor but Wodehouse is not sardonic and his tone is never bitter like his contemporary Evelyn Waugh (who is another comfort food writer for me).  He is truly just good fun.  His series about Bernie Wooster and his brilliantly exasperated butler, Jeeves, is notably Wodehouse’s most popular.

Sebestian Faulks has decided to carry the Wodehouse torch and write, in his best Wodehouse voice, a new Jeeves and Wooster book.  I was a little worried about this idea.  Wodehouse is, well, a rarity and should a modern writer try to touch his legacy? This type of attempt is often hideous – “Sanditon” is the best example (poor Jane Austen).  But I couldn’t help myself and asked my husband to buy it for me for Christmas.  I admit to cringing a bit as I asked.  My dramatic cringing and snobbery was apparently misplaced, because Mr. Faulks pulls this all off seamlessly.   I can’t imagine the painstaking work that went into assuming the voice and tone of Wodehouse but somehow Faulks manages it.  He states in the foreword that he hopes this book will bring Wodehouse to a new generation of readers, because he is just too brilliant to miss. I really do hope his plan works.   Cassoulet and dark chocolate and chicken and dumplings for everyone can’t be wrong.

February 3, 2014 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

There is truly nothing wrong with living in a castle – “Damsel in Distress” by P.G. Wodehouse

Cover of "A Damsel in Distress"

Cover of A Damsel in Distress

Damsel in Distress” by P.G. Wodehouse, Published in 1919

If you have not read any Wodehouse you really should – especially if, like me, you love satirical British novels set in the 20s and 30s.  Wodehouse takes his jabs at the British aristocracy, which is fun for the reader but of course the reader also wouldn’t mind being a member of that same aristocracy.  I particularly enjoy the “Jeeves and Wooster” series. “Damsel in Distress” was also good but I would not read it at the beginning of your reading relationship with Wodehouse.  It is not Wodehouse at his best – but seriously a less than stellar Wodehouse novel is still amazing.

George Bevans, a great American composer, is in London for the opening of his new play.  While riding in a taxi, a young woman jumps in and asks him to hide her.  George immediately falls in love with her and saves her from a portly gentleman who is chasing her.  After the taxi escapes her pursuer and drops her off at her destination, George finds out that his damsel in distress is Maude Marsh of Belpher Castle. Maude resides in the castle with her father  daughter,Lord Marshmoreton, her brother, Percy (Lord Belpher), her aunt, Lady Caroline, and her cousin, Reggie.

George decides that he must be close to Maude and rents a cottage down the country road from Belpher Castle hoping to woe her. Of course this is Wodehouse so this becomes a comedy of errors and a story of the rich being, well, ridiculous.  Unfortunately for George, Maude loves a Welsh gentleman who she is forbidden by her family to see.  Lady Caroline wants Reggie to marry Maude but Reggie is in love with Lord Marshmoreton’s secretary.  The secretary wants Lord Marshmoreton to complete his book about the history of his family but he wants to just grow his roses.  Lord Marshmoreton pretends to be the gardener to get out of the castle and George pretends to be a server to get into the castle. Lady Caroline is continually exasperated and Percy is continually obnoxious.  Mix in a bet among the service staff regarding who will marry who and it all becomes bedlam.

There is underlying commentary in Wodehouse’s writing but taken at face value this book is a great British romp.  So if you enjoy romping and Brits then go for it…that sounds scandalous, doesn’t it?

Other thoughts on Wodehouse:

September 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm 4 comments


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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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