Right ho, Jeeves: listen to more from P. G. Wodehouse.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Has many of the qualities of the author's more mature later novels (eccentric characters, clever farce, and inventive metaphors), as well as the additional charm of being a diamond in the rough....Frederick Davidson, as usual, adds to the fun with his energetic reading." (Library Journal)
That's how Wodehouse described the kind of stories he wrote. The alternative, he said, was "going right down deep into life and not giving a damn." Given the unbridled, nearly-unfailing enjoyment his 90+ books can be counted on to deliver, we should be glad he didn't choose the alternative.
Girl on the Boat is a fine example. Wodehouse had the ability to render almost anything into comedy. Here it starts with the book's forward, written to dispel the notion that a certain incident might have been cribbed from another contemporary writer's work. What could sound defensive or snarfy is instead funny, lighthearted and self-deprecating.
Then there's the story: In this corner, a young woman with impossibly high standards (her model is Tennyson's Galahad). And in the other corner, a young man who meets those standards by willfully manipulating the facts. This could easily become high tragedy. Instead, you get scenes like--well, I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'll just say it involves the girl, the young man's father's clerk, a few well-crafted fibs and an over-sized pistol.
Another wonder: Wodehouse keeps you interested, even empathetic toward these two essentially shallow, less-than-likable characters. Perhaps we like them as they are because that's what generates all the fun. His greatest triumph in this line is probably Ukridge, a man one can enjoy only through the medium of print (or audio book); get him at closer range and he starts trying to borrow a fiver.
Related to this is one of the oddest aspects of Wodehouse: though his tales play out in the never-never world of musical comedy (no one dies, the World Wars are barely mentioned and work, if it happens, takes place off stage) he creates characters that make us sit up and say, "I know that guy" or even "he's got my number". Tucked in among the fun are sharp observations of our motivations, fears and foibles.
Finally, there is Frederick Davidson. In one short story Wodehouse describes a woman striking a young man's fancy as if she had been constructed according to his exact specifications. I always feel Wodehouse would have felt the same way about Davidson's performances of his work.
It's PG Wodehouse. What can I say. 15 minutes later you won't remember the plot or the characters, but the book moves along briskly and is and funny and good listen for a rainy day chore. Davidson reads him well, with lovely variations in the accents and voices.
"Not the best Wodehouse but still enjoyable"
I would recommend many other Wodehouse books before this one but this is still funny. I don't think the plot is as clever as Wodehouse plots can be, but it is not rubbish by any means.
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