Friday, February 17, 2006

Book Review: Carry On, Jeeves

by P.G. Wodehouse
A few years ago, looking for something both substantial and light to read on a dig, I found a used copy of a P.G. Wodehouse collection at Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore (R.I.P. AVH). It was big, but after reading an appreciation of Wodehouse by Anthony Lane in the New Yorker, I gambled on it.

I loved it. Also, it was a big hit on the dig and got passed around quite a bit -- the book of the season, I might venture.

I had seen the BBC series Jeeves and Wooster with Fry and Laurie and particularly liked those stories so I recently bought Carry On, Jeeves. I understood this to be the first Jeeves collection (originally published 1925) but for the anally compiled chronological list, go Wiki.

In any case, the stories are substantially the same: a friend of Bertie Wooster's is in trouble, often involving impending matrimony and they come to him for help. As always, it is Jeeves who arranges a solution, often through a deus ex machina of a cousin in teh employ of the intended or some other lucky break. But the plot doesn't matter, the language is delicious. Individual sentences are hilarious. Phrases make you laugh out loud. They need to be read.

I intend to read all of them and as I do, I'll post little descriptions of them here with significant notes. For example, this collection includes the first meeting of Jeeves and Wooster "Jeeves Takes Charge" as well as a tale narrated by Jeeves (! not sure I liked it) "Bertie Changes His Mind."

Next up: The Inimitable Jeeves

Some Wodehouse links:

Hugh Laurie on Wodehouse

Which Wooster character are you?

Searchable Online texts of Wodehouse

Pretty complete site on Wodehouse and a good place to start or end

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