©1948 Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate; (P)2000 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
It may be heretical to say it, but in my opinion, the Uncle Dynamite character - aka Lord Ickenham, elderly uncle of Pongo Twistleton and one of the more infamous members of the Pelican Club - is as good as, if not better, than Jeeves or Bertie Wooster.
Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks this: in one of the Wodehouse omnibus books I have, it says that the British Wodehouse society voted the short story about Lord Ickenham, Pongo, the suburbs and a parrot Wodehouse's best story ever.
Lord Ickenham as a character - interestingly, though there are books which use the 'Uncle Dynamite' title, he is never referred to by that name in the stories - combines the goofiness of Bertie Wooster with the creative problem-solving genius of Jeeves. This often makes for a more interesting and less-predictable story, which is good, because sometimes the Jeeves stuff starts to seem a little too formulaic.
So whether you're a casual fan of Wodehouse (and have only read Jeeves stories up til now) or a die-hard fan who loves Wodehouse's writing but are tired of Jeeves, this is a good choice.
(In the early 1990s, the BBC produced a radio dramatization also called 'Uncle Dynamite', starring Hugh Grant, which follows roughly the same storyline as this book, though as it was done in six parts of 30 minutes each, some of the superfluous sub-plots were left out. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be available for purchase any more, at least in the UK and North America.)
Overall: highly recommended, but only if you've read at least a bit of Wodehouse before and know you like his style.
This was my first audiobook and it was a delight. I've long been a fan of the ingeniously, carefully circumscribed silliness that Wodehouse so masterfully pens. Jonathon Cecil's narration adds to the experience. He manages to create recognisably different voices for each of the nine major characters (5 men, 4 women) and his dry delivery matches up nicely with Wodehouse's prose. The story, the usual Wodehouse mismatched lovers theme, with addlepated constable, includes occasional comedic insights into American stereotypes and situations. Wodehouse fans should love this book, and those who love dry British humor will also get quite a few chuckles (and the occasional guffaw.)
this is one of the funniest books ever written. uncle fred is the most loveable old man in literature, with his penchant for seeking out situations that call for ingenious solutions, preferably with impersonations.
here he is truly dynamite.
pg wodehouse has in this book made full use of the interpretations of words by different people, his characters are drawn with sharp lines and more than a little charity.
read it again and again.
do not read it in public places if you are embarrassed by laughing out loud
Lord Ickenham is one of Wodehouse's most adorable creations. Ingenious as Jeeves and equally unflappable, he waltzes through the story with complete aplomb. He's charming, witty, rich, generous, kind, and shrewd. Any world would be greatly improved if there were only ONE more Lord I. More than one would be stupendous.
I was afraid of Wodehouse without Bertie and Jeeves, until I met Psmith. Now I'm on to Pongo Twistleton and haven't looked back. This is a tight, smart, and thoroughly satisfying listen.
I have probably listened to this book 4 times now and it still makes me chuckle.... I love Wodehouse and this is one of the funnier ones to me.
I am a big fan of Wodehouse and the Code of the Woosters is one of my favourite books, but I found this book disappointing. I know this book is 80 odd years old but I found the male and female interactions to be very dated and worst of all, unfunny.
The farce element of the book which Wodehouse can do so just didn't work for me. For reviewers to claim that the characters in this book are some of Wodehouse's best, puzzles me. Lord Ickenham just seemed pompous and his clever plans were exceedingly stupid. The policeman and his love interest were annoying, in fact none of the characters were of interest to me.
I guess the good news is that if you like this book there is nothing that Wodehouse wrote that you won't love.
I really enjoyed this audiobook. Wodehouse's writing is excellent, and Jonathan Cecil does a great job of distinquishing the characters' voices. If you need a laugh, this is for you..
I also recommend Uncle Fred in the Springtime with Cecil.
Yes, it's Uncle Fred again. Frederick, Lord Ickenham, is always causing trouble to the point where his nephew hates to entertain him at the Drone's Club. Sample dialog:
"It's his uncle." "Dead?" "No such luck. He's coming to London."
In this book many of Wodehouse's familiar characters are included. I love the end where Wodehouse uses the character of a big-game hunter having proper British tea oblivious to (though commenting on) a family argument of large proportions that rages around him. He is the perfect foil for the plot at that moment, and a tribute to Wodehouse's masterful plotting of his books to weave in the most amazing characters.
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