Wednesday, September 03, 2008
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I had seen a few episodes of the Masterpiece Theater: Jeeves and Wooster series starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Since then, I had repeatedly been given recommendations to read P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves series.
This volume is the 1967 omnibus of Jeeves short stories written up until that point. It's a hefty book, but a fast read, and many of the supporting characters show up again and again, making it at times feel less like a short story collection and more like a very episodic novel.
Bertie Wooster is a more-or-less indpendently wealthy British playboy enjoying life between the World Wars. He spends more time avoiding work than working, and more time escaping engagements than wooing ladies.
Wooster's personal valet, Jeeves, is a seemingly omniscient schemer. He can take the most hopeless-seeming dilemma, and arrange things so that in the end, everything works out the best for all involved.
Well, occasionally they don't quite work out all that phenomenally for Wooster, but even that come in handy, as when Wooster's unfortunate engagement is broken when Jeeves convinces the lady's father that his employer is insane. Jeeves himself tends to do fairly well in the end, often receiving tips from at least Wooster if not members of the extended Wooster clan -- not to mention the eradication of certain articles of clothing Wooster picks out against Jeeves's better judgment.
Wooster and Jeeves travel throughout Great Britain, continental Europe, and the greater New York area, and Wooster's friends and relatives are constantly stirring up one kind of trouble or another.
It's long but it's fast. Good for the beach, or for a long plane trip -- or, since the summer is almost over, a quiet weekend in.
The Rest of the InternetAppellation Mountain chose Bertram as its Name of the Day.
Flashlight Worthy recommends the Best of P.G. Wodehouse.