(P)1996 Chivers Audio Books
One of the things I like most about Wodehouse books is that everyone's always talking about money - having it, losing it, marrying for it, borrowing it - in great detail. The result is that you end up learning a lot about the economic conditions of the time in which the stories are set. And that's one of the best aspects of this book.
'Ring for Jeeves' is set in post-WWII Britain, when the term 'impoverished nobility' was more applicable than ever before: the economy was a mess, the pound had been devalued, and even titled aristocrats - who formerly had lived on 'private income' or income from large country estates - had to start getting real jobs and selling their 15-bedroom castles to Americans, who were the only ones with enough money to handle the upkeep.
The male members of the leisure class are forced to take jobs at Harrods-like department stores, and the 'delicately nurtured' female members are becoming more independent and career-minded: Hilarity ensues!
In many ways, the story feels like a Blandings Castle novel onto which Jeeves has been grafted. It's not entirely successful (apparently wrote the play first, and then turned it into a book, and I think the retrofitting is apparent) but overall it's a decent story, has some good moments of humor, and provides a great insight into the upper classes in the late 40s and early 50s.
I'm a big fan of Wodehouse and have most of the audiobooks and love them all. This one have a fun story and was a bit different, being that Bertie Wooster is only mentioned and Jeeves is on lone to the hero of this story. It takes place after WWII in an England where the aristocracy had lost much of it's power and wealth and the characters watch horse races on tv. The story itself is basically the typical Wodehouse kind of story, ludicrous and pretty funny. The reader does a great job, and I enjoyed it a lot. Not quite as funny and the Jeeves and Wooster stories, but still plenty of fun.
Nigel Lambert's narration is a perfect complement for Wodehouse's story! The characters come to life!
I've read and listened to dozens of P.G. Wodehouse books over the years, and this was probably my least favorite. It seemed slow and I missed the lovable goofiness of Bertie Wooster. However, my main objection to this Audible book was the reader. His voice was difficult to understand, rather hoarse, and made the book drag even more. Next time I'll be more careful.
I am a big Woodehose fan, especially in audio format. However, I don't think I have ever enjoyed him so much. The narrator --Nigel Lambert-- really makes the characters come alive, making Woodehouse's words shine.
I don't think there's anything left to say, except stating that this is the way to enjoy Woodehouse.
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