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Not George Washington [Hardcover]

P. G. Wodehouse
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.77
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Book Description

30 Oct 2014
I am Margaret Goodwin. A week from today I shall be Mrs. James Orlebar Cloyster. It is just three years since I first met James. We made each other's acquaintance at half-past seven on the morning of the 28th of July in the middle of Fermain Bay, about fifty yards from the shore.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Press (30 Oct 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468309684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468309683
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 13.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 629,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Mr Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in." (Evelyn Waugh BBC Broadcast) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Not George Washington is a semi-autobiographical novel by P. G. Wodehouse. An Early Wodehouse presented in a beautiful hardback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art Imitates Life 18 Aug 2010
By Dave_42
Format:Paperback
Though one tends to think of his school stories when thinking of early Wodehouse, he did on several occasions stretch himself, and often with much better results than what he achieved with the school stories. "Not George Washington" is a case in point. Billed as an autobiographical novel, this story is very humorous and one of his better early efforts, along with "Love Among the Chickens" and "William Tell Told Again". Published originally on October 18th, 1907 and co-written with Herbert Westbrook, Wodehouse uses his early career and some of his and Westbrook's doings as the framework for the story.

The story is cleverly written, as it moves from one narrator to the next. The narrative starts as from Miss Margaret Goodwin, a woman who becomes engaged to James Orlebar Cloyster (Wodehouse). They fall in love and are engaged to be married, but first he must succeed as a writer, and so he heads off to London and they are parted. Her narrative jumps ahead a few years as she is still waiting, but has written a play which she sends to her husband so that he can succeed.

In London, the narrative shifts to Cloyster and returns to the time of his initial arrival and attempts to become a writer. Cloyster soon becomes distracted by other aspects of life, and the story artfully weaves its way through his career events, his personal relationships, and the waning of his feelings for Miss Goodwin. Cloyster ends up hiding his success from Miss Goodwin by publishing his works through three different men.

The narrative next shifts to Sidney Price. Price is one of Cloyster's fronts who becomes aware that he is not the only one who is allowing Cloyster to publish using his name.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Back in print as a hardcover book for the first time since it was published in 1907, this has always been one of the most difficult to obtain Wodehouse titles. Collectors pay large sums for the first edition, but here it is at last in a fine edition at a bargain price.

Wodehouse authority Richard Usborn dismissed this as "a very poor novel", but biographer Robert McCrum noted that it is nevertheless an important and overlooked work written primarily by Wodehouse despite his protests to the contrary when it was published.

The significance here lies in the fact that, at least up to a point, the main character is an autobiographical depiction of Plum's early days as a writer. The result is what might be expected if Wodehouse had written Jack London's novel "Martin Eden", which was published around the same time.

I found the book to be not so bad as Usborne judged and definitely worth reading at least once if you have a deep appreciation for the Master.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wodehouse's worst book 7 Sep 2006
By Yoyogod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Wodehouse's books are usually very funny. They're full of clever wordplay, convoluted plots, and and lovable characters. Not George Washington doesn't have any of that. I only laughed once while reading the thing, and that was in the next-to-last chapter. The wordplay is not even remotely clever, in fact it's almost non-existent. The plot is slightly convoluted, but nowhere up to the usual Wodehouse standards. Quite frankly, I almost hated the main character, James Cloyster, because he's boring and a scoundrel. Trying to marry one woman when you're engaged to another is not the sort of behavior one expects from a Wodehousian hero.

This really isn't a good book at all. At best it's painfully mediocre. I can only recommend it to Wodehouse enthusiasts who want to collect copies of all of his works. Everyone else should steer clear. I can only give "Not George Washington" 3 stars, and that's being generous.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art Imitates Life 11 Jan 2012
By Dave_42 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Though one tends to think of his school stories when thinking of early Wodehouse, he did on several occasions stretch himself, and often with much better results than what he achieved with the school stories. "Not George Washington" is a case in point. Billed as an autobiographical novel, this story is very humorous and one of his better early efforts, along with "Love Among the Chickens" and "William Tell Told Again". Published originally on October 18th, 1907 and co-written with Herbert Westbrook, Wodehouse uses his early career and some of his and Westbrook's doings as the framework for the story.

The story is cleverly written, as it moves from one narrator to the next. The narrative starts as from Miss Margaret Goodwin, a woman who becomes engaged to James Orlebar Cloyster (Wodehouse). They fall in love and are engaged to be married, but first he must succeed as a writer, and so he heads off to London and they are parted. Her narrative jumps ahead a few years as she is still waiting, but has written a play which she sends to her husband so that he can succeed.

In London, the narrative shifts to Cloyster and returns to the time of his initial arrival and attempts to become a writer. Cloyster soon becomes distracted by other aspects of life, and the story artfully weaves its way through his career events, his personal relationships, and the waning of his feelings for Miss Goodwin. Cloyster ends up hiding his success from Miss Goodwin by publishing his works through three different men.

The narrative next shifts to Sidney Price. Price is one of Cloyster's fronts who becomes aware that he is not the only one who is allowing Cloyster to publish using his name. He and the others decide they want a higher rate and confront Cloyster, but Cloyster has decided to marry another woman (the cousin of a friend) and cancels his arrangement with all three of the men. Price then sees works still being published under the other two men's names, and learns that they have decided that they can write as well as Cloyster, so Price also begins to write and publish under his own name.

The narrative then shifts to Julian Eversleigh (Westbrook) - the friend of Cloyster who is the cousin of Cloyster's new fiancé - and then back to Cloyster as the story twists and turns at the end in a marvelous display of Wodehouse at his best. The overall story is fairly strong, though not quite at the level of the second version of "Love Among the Chickens", it is still one of the best of Wodehouse's early works.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Accents 4 Mar 2007
By Heli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book itself I would rate three stars, but this edition only gets one star. This is an amateuristic edition in which all French accents are scrambled. Espièglerie becomes espiglerie and pied-à-terre becomes pied-terre. The printer should look for an other job, like taxi driver.

Don't buy this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rather Unusual Wodehouse Novel 2 Jun 2014
By Phyllis Hirshleifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This isn't my favorite novel by P. G. Wodehouse, but it's quite interesting. It seems like an early experiment, written before he developed his special kind of comedy. He speaks in several voices and they aren't all likeable, but the skill is already evident.
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for any Wodehouse Fan 27 May 2014
By Nate Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written in the classic Wodehouse style, this book tells the life story of one of the great 20th Century Humorists who it turns out lived a pretty interesting life. Well worth the read, especially for the price.
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