Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Reading: P.G. Wodehouse's GALAHAD AT BLANDINGS

Book reviewer Mary Whipple offers a critique of P.G. Wodehouse's Galahad at Blandings, just released in Overlook's beloved Collector's Wodehouse series: "In this ninth of his eleven Blandings Castle farces, P. G. Wodehouse brings a large cast of mostly repeating characters to Blandings Castle in Shropshire, where their adolescent behavior, their misplaced values, and their obliviousness to real issues in a real world, allow Wodehouse to create gentle but pointed satire of the British upperclass, of which he himself was also a member. Written in 1965, but set in 1929, this novel, like all Wodehouse writing, is timeless in its ability to capture the silly, the petty, and the laughable in complex and hilarious plots in which numerous misunderstandings occur because characters refuse to be honest with themselves and with each other. Wodehouse selects perfect, absurd details to describe these characters as they engage in perfectly outrageous actions, as he encourages readers from all walks of life to laugh with those whom “society” considers to be “upper” class. . . The action is fast and furious, with one complication following another. The humor is obvious and very visual, with silly characters behaving much the way they do in the earliest TV sitcoms or Marx Brothers movies. Wodehouse’s sense of timing and his fine grasp of his characters, many of whom repeat throughout the series, keep readers amused and feeling as if they are reading about the escapades of old friends who don’t quite “get it.” A delightful entertainment which allows Wodehouse to tweak upper-class pretensions and values, which he has seen up close in his own life, Galahad at Blandings is fun to read for the pictures it conjures of a much earlier time and place."

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