The reviews I read about this classic were good, with a few negatives that made me wonder if I was going to like this book, but it was a fun listen. ..Show More » There were only a couple of laugh-out-loud spots, but it's the cleverness and wit throughout the book that made it enjoyable.
I think people don't really talk like this in England, it does seem like it's an old-fashioned speech of a British stereotype, but it's a lot of fun to hear the unusual turn of phrases. The narrator did a great job with the accents and different characters.
The writing is ingenious in the line of an "Oh what a tangled web we weave . . . " plot line as untruths, bent truths, deceptions, impersonations, rigged gambling and card tricks ensue. The characters are beautifully described and memorable. Even the Empress, a large pig is has a rounded out character to which she stays true.
The story is a pleasant diversion from daily life, but not something to listen to in the background as all the machinations and trickery going on from beginning to end require the listener to pay close attention to keep up with the story.
If you appreciate a complex plot with funny and manipulative people, you might enjoy this book too.
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 m..Show More »ore 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.
Mr Wodehouse, you were a great man when storytelling. And your legacy continues-even in 2016. Thank you for sharing with us. For keeping alive in..Show More » us whom read, a special place called... JOY!
Pair with _Uncle Dynamite_ to double your pleasure
I've long been a fan of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster, and I knew and liked Lord Emsworth, but Lord Ickenham, the master manipulator in _Service with..Show More » a Smile_ may be my new favorite. Lord Ickenham (Uncle Fred to his friends and relations) believes in "spreading sunshine" wherever he goes. He also believes that there's nothing quite so fun as traveling under an assumed name. In this book he return to Lord Emsworth's domain to help out yet another star-crossed lover. In the course of his sunshine spreading, he reunites the lovers, recovers a kidnapped pig, assists a hardworking blackmailer and ruins the plans of one of the most unpleasant and unscrupulous characters I've ever encountered in a Wodehouse novel. The yuks flow easily and, as always, at the end of the book all's right with the world. Nigel Lambert's narration is excellent, providing easy differentiation between the various characters (both male and female.) I never fully understood how befuddled Lord Emsworth was until I heard Mr. Lambert's comically appropriate "Hmms?" and "Hrmphs."