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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic Mix of Blandings Castle and Hollywood Satire,
This review is from: Blandings Castle (Hardcover)Blandings Castle is an unexpected mix of short stories. After P.G. Wodehouse began to weave his novels about Clarence, Ninth Earl of Emsworth, and his improbable family and friends into a series of hilarious stories, he realized that he needed to fill in a gap. He warns that the first six stories in this collection constitute "the short snorts in between the solid orgies." Specifically, these stories tell us about happenings between Leave It to Psmith and Summer Lightning.
You find out more about why Clarence doesn't like to have his son, the Honorable Freddie around. You also learn about how the Empress of Blandings won her first Fat Pigs competition. The Custody of the Pumpkin shows Clarence as a plant-focused competitor before he became a pig-focused one. Mr. Wodehouse also lets us know how Freddie came to marry his wealthy wife and join the dog biscuit business in the States. Some of these stories have plots that could have been turned into novels, which makes the short stories all the better. The most delicious of the stories is a sweet tale of Clarence taking it upon himself to do the right thing in Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend.
The seventh tale is a typical Wodehouse country hullabaloo as Bobbie Wickham manipulates all involved to her advantage in dispatching an unwelcome suitor . . . playing the role for herself the Jeeves and Gally usually play in resolving romantic mishaps. It's clever and ever so liberated.
In the last five stories, P.G. Wodehouse unleashes his dissatisfaction with the Hollywood studios into acid satires of moguls and their foibles. For those who know the Hollywood of those days, these tales are almost biographical. Like the Canterbury Tales, there's a delightful element of exaggeration that makes the humor ever so much more tangy. If you dislike phonies, incompetents and those who are out for only themselves, you'll love these stories. If you don't like biting satire, skip these stories. You'll like the earlier seven.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Stroll Through the World of Wodehouse.,
The Blandings short stories allow the Threepwoods and particularly Lord Emsworth to come out of the shadow of being in the supporting cast of Wodehouse's novels to take centre stage. These six stories highlight whilst a character actor can make a story in support he cannot necessarily carry it alone. The stories which feature Lord Emsworth in the lead are the poorer stories whilst the ones which follow the novel template of boy meets girl, Aunt Constance refuses match, Lord Emsworth brings things to a satisfactory conclusion for the sake of an quiet life, are where these characters really shine.
The Bobbie Wickham story is, in my opinion, the best story in this collection, as Bobbie manipulates all the men captivated by her vivid red hair to get the better of her mothers desire to marry her to the nearest novelist or poet.
The five Mr Mulliner stories are better than the majority to populate his solo ventures possibly due to them being themed around the Mulliners whom work in the Hollywood film industry. No doubt tempered by Wodehouse's own experiences of being a staff man at MGM where he famously said `I've never been paid so much; for doing so little'. His stories of yes men and nodders (junior yes men whom agree with their superiors without recourse to chanting yes) are fantastic. The action in `Monkey Business' is worth the price of admission on its own.
Another great collection in the Wodehouse cannon and if I had a critism it is that it should be reverted to its original title to prevent it being used as an introduction to the Blandings stories. `Summer Lightening; A Blandings story' is the best introduction to Blandings Castle and I imagine this book has put off more weary travellers to the castle grounds than it has attracted.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blandings at its best,
By A Customer
This review is from: Blandings Castle: And Elsewhere (Paperback)PG Wodehouse is universally acknowledged as the greatest humourist ever to write in the English language, and this collection of short stories provides ample reason why. A variety of stories are included, focusing on all members of the Emsworth clan (a treat for those of us who think that Lord Emsworth is given somewhat short shrift in the full-length novels). A smattering of Mr. Mulliner's Hollywood yarns round out the package. Not quite as good as Jeeves, perhaps, but still a rib-tickling read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars P G GIVES US SOME GROWING TIPS!,
Mick Drake - author of the comic novel All`s Well at Wellwithoute.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the novels,
This review is from: Blandings Castle: And Elsewhere (Paperback)Perhaps its because I am not a great fan of the short story form, but I did not find these short stories as enticing as the full length Blandings novels. Even so, the fun is there galore and I often laughed out loud at the nonsense. Let me give an example of the kind of desciptions that makes Wodehouse a genius. Lor Emsworth looking out his telescope takes interest in a cow but: "Presently, the cow's audience-appeal began to wane. It was a fine cow, as cows go, but, like so many cows, it lacked sustained dramatic interest". Curiously I though Freddie Threepwood began to sound more and more like Bertie Wooster in these short stories than I had noticed in the novels.
I did not really get into the Mulliner stories but perhaps this is because I am single mindedly focusing on Blandings at the minute.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dashed Sneaky,
The tea with milk, no sugar, agreed.
With a clear and unambiguous title, Blandings Castle emblazoned on the dust cover, one is not expecting trips to Hollywood, even with the inestimable Mr. Mulliner and his ubiquitous family.
Sneakily slipped inside is the full title, `Blandings Castle and Elsewhere'. Damned cheek I'd call it - especially as I'd settled in to my summer holiday read and, like England, was expecting ...
In two clear parts with and entr'acte of mixed pedigree, this collection of short stories takes you through an early phase of Lord Emsworth's passions (strictly horticultural at first but moving swinewards), deals with the suicidal American publisher and comes to rest in the US of A's bitter world of celluloid sweat-shop.
Emsworth here seems to be a bit stronger - to be able to offer resistance to that most formidable of avenging hosts, his sister and even takes to refusing his Glaswegian sourpuss Head Gardener - but only with the helping hand of a London waif.
These are tales which wag with all the drunken puppy-dog vigour you would expect from Blandings and don't disappoint. The young characters are chumps, the older characters either fighting against the encroaching idiocies of youth, or rich enough to indulge them. Sailing through it all is Emsworth, concerned only with the important things of life - watching his marrow grow or fattening his pig to Shropshire Show prize winning proportions. His son is more concerned with selling dog biscuits.
This ends all too quickly - at page 160 of a 300 page book.
Mr Potter, publisher, gets dragged down to a very Blandings-inferior country residence for the between acts entertainment marking a sort of obvious transition - an American in England before we hit the English in America. What he is doing sneaking out of a punt and into the moat I'll leave it to you to find out - but star (or rather Lady Wickham's celebrated willpower) crossed love is involved, and furniture piled against the door.
Mr Mulliner then, as is his want, engages in a bit of storytelling in the local pub to assembled drinks. All are of related Mulliners, their blighted loves and interactions in the jungle we know as the film industry.
Mr Wodehouse seems to have a wormwood like inflection towards the Californian dream factory and one wonders if personal experience hasn't coloured his attitude.
Monstrous moguls, scheming starlets and writing prisons all feature in this most deceptive of environments - and the bland drift of English youth towards it is reminiscent of Pacific flotsam.
Amusing but cautionary, the moral high ground is scaled, whilst in the cellar the police are locked out of the illicit liquor store.
Good tales - but not what I wanted on the hot summer riverbank as I lazily watch the local anglers attempting to land the indolent carp.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read,
This review is from: Blandings Castle (Paperback)This book is exactly like the TV exposed on BBC. Funny read and the hard to put down. The chapter on the pig is very funny.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great STuff,
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read,
Hilarious! One of Te best books I have ever read.
Would recommend this to anyone.
5.0 out of 5 stars Crem de la crem of the country house and it's inhabitants,
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Blandings Castle and Elsewhere: (Blandings Castle) by P G Wodehouse (Paperback - 1 May 2008)