Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some Lesser-Known Works of a Master

Getting behind again, no surprise, and I'm not quite sure of the order in which I finished the next few books, but abg's comment that she is actually reading this has inspired me to soldier on - so here we go :)  One of the authors for whom I checked in the library's ebook system was P.G. Wodehouse.  His books have, in fact, been transferred to Kindle form but, and this should not come as a surprise, are the Jeeves and Bertie books were out.  Yes, I could have reserved them, but for now, I just checked out a different series, Psmith.  I had read the first of these previously, but only had a hazy recall of the book, so I figured I'd start with that one.  Once I did though, I found that the adventures of adolescent males, even gentle English ones, failed to hold my interest.  I think this was more of a product of my diet of tv watching than a fault in the book, but nevertheless, I decided to move on to the next of the series, Psmith in the City, which featured a more mature Psmith and Mike (the straight man to Psmith's over-the-top).

Psmith is quintessential Wodehouse - urbane, gentleman-like, polite - and utterly oblivious to societal norms (or at least he appears to be).  He knows how to manipulate things (and people :)) to go his way, but he's so debonair doing it, it's not even wrong.  And he takes Mike along in his various schemes to improve their rather dull City-man lot.  All this is of course related in Wodehouse prose, light and delicate but full to the brim with humor.

There's not much of a story, it's mainly anecdotes of Psmith and Mike at work, but I can't say I read Wodehouse for the story.  It's more about the characters, and in the case of this series at least, it's all about Psmith.  I'd say he does an okay job of carrying his series - he's not as much of a genius as Jeeves, and cares far more about appearances, niceties, etc. than Uncle Fred, and certainly not as lovable as Bertie, but he's not too bad.  The book moves along as lightly as Psmith himself does - never a real page-turner but amusing enough to keep me reading.  So typical Wodehouse, though not in prime form I'd say.

Verdict: 3/5

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