©1938, 1966 Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, held by Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate; (P)1990, 2000 Chivers Audio Books
Jonathan Cecil has just become my favorite Wodehouse narrator after listening to 2 titles narrated by him and that is saying some after having listened to Frederick Davidson's excellent efforts in the past. Mr. Cecil does an excellent Bertie making him sound the perfect lovable and urbane nitwit we've all come to know and love. His Jeeves is if anything even more accomplished with just the proper amount of wisdom, subservience and pedantry. He does women's voices very well and you would swear this was a full cast production when you factor in the voices for Gussie Fink-Nottle, Roderick Spode, Sir Watkyn Bassett, Stinker Pinker, Stiffy Byng, Madeline Bassett and of course Aunt Dahlia. The story itself stands on its own and the author's reputation and requires no comments from me. Highly recommended title. Enjoy!
If Wodehouse were still with us, I feel confident he would grant Jonathan Cecil exclusive rights to all future audio interpretations of his novels and stories. Cecil's vocal characterizations are nothing short of virtuosic (if, as Bertie would say, that is the word I want). By the climactic scene you would swear there are five or six different people in the room with him. And of course, Wodehouse's comedy is as highly honed as ever set down in English. A hilarious collaboration of author and interpreter, this makes for an especially good antidote to rush-hour traffic!
This book is a great book to listen to if you want to snap yourself out of any bad mood. Twenty minutes of laughing at Wooster and Jeeves would do anyone a bit of good.
In this humorous novel Bertie is dragged into yet another scrape by his "chums" who continue to lean on him for assistance since "the were in school together". As always Jeeves comes to their aid and the good times just roll on. It is a very good recording and Jonathan Cecil does a fine job with the narration. (One side note: This is one continuous story not several as in most of the other recordings I have listened to.)
If you like Bertie and Jeeves, this is one of the best! As I listened to the book, I kept chuckling and laughing to the point where people wondered what I was doing! Bertie gets himself tangled up in two or three different twists, all of which center around an antique cow creamer that most of his relatives and aquaintences seem to covet. As usual, Jeeves comes to his rescue just as things are hopeless..
Evelyn Waugh was about right when he said, “Mr. Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.”
This classic from the Monarch or Royal of the Master—he apparently used both brands of typewriter in the course of a longish authorial career—has certainly released me more than once from dull hours and duller cares. In a bookshelf with more high spots than a can-can line, Code of the Woosters is one of the highest; a story that delights no matter how many times I listen to it—and I generally fit it in at least once a year, in the autumn, the season in which the story is set.
The tonic effect of Wodehouse is, I believe, heightened with repeated listening. The rhythm of his sentences and then the almost bulletproof good humor of his perspective, begin to seep into your system and you notice bits of his Drones Club jargon in your own speech. Rather than say you don’t want to see someone, you observe that you’d run a mile in tight shoes to avoid them. Instead of merely feeling relieved, you start singing like a relieved nightingale. Don’t fight it. It means the inoculation against Modern Times is taking effect and the cure is working.
I’m not going to say a word about the plot because with Woodhouse plot is everything and it’s my object here to give away nothing. He once said that, on average, he generated around 400 pages of notes to work out the plot of one of his books—a book that generally ran half that length. Let’s just say that I’ve always suspected the notes for this plot may have run a tad longer. It in complex, contorted and convoluted, all words which, in the world according to Wodehouse, are good things.
One of the peculiarities about audio books is that, if there are different recordings of a book, the version you first heard becomes THE version; no others will satisfy. This is especially so with a writer like Wodehouse, where every inflection makes a difference. Years ago I first listened to this version of this book on audiocassette. So the fact that I think Jonathan Cecil is at his very best on this one may be due merely to my early, Lorenzian imprinting. Nevertheless, there it is.
Buy it, listen to it—and repeat the dose as often as needed.
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