© The Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate; (P)1997 Chivers Audio Books
Wodehouse met with controversy in his life, and was often undervalued as a literary figure because his writing didn't skirt the confectionery: it planted itself firmly in the middle of it. The more I read or listen to his work the more I'm utterly bowled over by his precision, clarity, invention - and by the utter genius of his comic timing. He might not be the deepest writer, but he is the most deeply superficial one ever to trot the boards of that stickiest of wickets: English prose. And Jonathan Cecil is something like the incarnation of the Buddha of the perfect Wodehousian voice.
I'd heard some critics claim that the Psmith character is actually much funnier than the Jeeves stories, but I had a hard time believing it until I listened to this story. Psmith, like Jeeves, has an uncanny knack of manipulating the behaviour of everyone around him in order to achieve his own ends while maintaining detachment and apparent innocence.
This book doesn't have quite as many laugh-out-loud moments as some of the Jeeves and Wooster stuff (the setting of the story is the New Asiatic Bank, and Wodehouse's hatred of his first job in a bank - at the same age that Psmith is in this story - is well documented, so I'm thinking perhaps this is less farcical) but the plotting is excellent. And let's face it: I love Bertie Wooster as much as the next person (and probably more) but there is a limit to how many stories one can read about his half-baked engagements before you long for a bit of variety. Psmith in the City makes a nice change.
It has been a lifetime since I have met up with Psmith and thoroughly enjoyed his company again. Astonishingly exhilarating to listen to the flowing sentences and to chuckle at the delightful turns of phrase. (Try speaking to folks in the style of Psmith and feel better for it.)
How can you not like Psmith??? It is such a checkout from reality to spend time with him.
"For cricket fans only"
Hard-core Wodehouse fans only and then only if they love cricket!
If this had been my first Wodehouse there would never have been any more.
The performance is fine - it's the content that's rubbish.
Unless you love cricket to the point of wanting to listen to long (15 minute) descriptions of matches - no redeeming qualities for the rest of us.
If this had been my first PG Wodehose book there would never have ever been any more! It’s a series of loosely connected incidents concerned with cricket and avoiding work while employed at a bank. None of the usual imposters, mistaken identities, formidable aunts or unwanted engagements that PG Wodehouse usually delivers with such wit. The entire first fifteen minutes of this book is spent in a description of a cricket match! This is for hard-core Wodehouse fans who love cricket only – be warned!
"More brilliant Wodehouse"
Jonathan Cecil could narrate the phone book and I'd still find it soothing. This is essentially a collection of Mike and Psmith stories woven into a novel, much like several of the J & W books. Not as good as Leave it to Psmith in my opinion, but still brilliant comic writing.
"boring Wodehouse? !!!"
Unfortunately this one had me falling off to sleep over and over and over again. Not Audible's problem, but not one of Wodehouse's better works.
Very little action.
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