The Jeeves Omnibus – Review – ****

More Jeeves!

I read this one in Thailand, which was a nice way to unwind after a long day of shrimp research, touring excursions, social outings, and homework. Frankly, after having read so many Wodehouse books for this little assignment, I have indeed encountered that which I feared so many months ago: I have run out of new ways to say I enjoy P.G.’s enormously entertaining, but fairly formulaic works. As I said last time, this problem is especially evident in his short stories, so this brick of a collection of them is pretty much more of the same (not the least because 10 of the short stories from that last book, Carry On, Jeeves, were included here*).

So the only new thing I have to talk about here is Wodehouse’s introduction, which reveals a humble, kind, gently funny man with a fond attachment to the characters he created, and a pretty good idea of the extents of his talent, and his place in literary history. I hope very much that this was what he was like in real life. I have a biography of him in my To Read pile, which I hope will reveal a bit more about him (but that will be part of my next book-related project). Can you imagine Wodehouse as a young man? Can you imagine a young man even coming up with these stories? They seem like the sort of alternate-universe history that an older author might tell with the prelude “in my day, this was what it was like…” Grandpa’s stories of another, smaller, simpler, better world. I guess this just goes back to what I said in my last review (again):

[E]ven when not actually laughing out loud, Wodehouse still makes me smile – his stories and tone have such a warm feeling, like coming home, and nothing ever goes too badly wrong.

I’ve given this one 4 stars because, as it includes almost all of the Jeeves/Wooster stories, it is packed with the best and the worst, and since the worst Wodehouse is, to me, worth a great deal more than the worst of ,many other authors, the very good (4-5 stars) outweighs the very mediocre (2.5-3 stars), and averages out to a nice round 4.

At this point, I am literally just writing to fill space (as if you couldn’t tell), so I’m off to write an essay about shrimp aquaculture.

*But yes, I’m still counting this as a new and separate book, because the thing was over 700 pages, and those 10 took up between 200-300. I think having read 400+ new pages book can count as its own separate book, thank you very much.

Cannonball Read III: 14/52

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Posted on September 15, 2011, in 100 things in 1000 days, Book Reviews, Books, Cannonball Read 3 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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