April 29, 2007

Homage to PG Wodehouse

I'm just getting to the end of Uneasy Money by PG Wodehouse. I have recently read his Leave It To Psmith (1923) , Summer Lightning (1929) Thank You Jeeves the first full length Jeeves and Bertie novel (1934), along with several giggling re-reads of the classic J. and B. short stories. They must be the best convalascent reads on the planet. It strikes me that Uneasy Money, in particular, but all of them really, have all of the coincidences and complications of a Thomas Hardy novel, only they are comic instead of tragic. After all, we all get enough of the former at home and work. Wodehouse for me is Hardy's smiling twin, his dialectical opposite. The grim realist dystopian George Orwell (an unexpected admirer of Wodehouse) wrote that Bertie Wooster, if he ever existed, was probably killed in the trenches sometime during the First World War. Sad and true. But thank God Wodehouse didn't let that get in the way of an imperishable story.

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