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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful and faithful story arc for Bertram W - a new classic
I should declare an interest. No - I don't know Sebastian Faulks. No - we don't share a publisher - and no - he's never reviewed any of my books. My interest is simple. I'm a P.G.Wodehouse fan. Specifically I'm huge devotee of the Jeeves books. I was therefore solidly in the folded-arms/outraged-that-anyone-should-try-to-imitate-the-master camp, and I bought this book at...
Published 18 months ago by John Ironmonger

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shooting the Breeze - Thus Far...
As I am only a third of the way through, it is probably premature to file this entry. My doubt as to whether I can stagger on to the bitter end has led me to jump the gun. When I received JATWB, I dipped in to random sample passages. My initial feeling was " By Jove, this is not bad. The fella's got it about right". And indeed he has. There's no doubt he knows his...
Published 18 months ago by La rue Verte


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76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful and faithful story arc for Bertram W - a new classic, 8 Nov. 2013
By 
John Ironmonger "J.W.Ironmonger" (Market Drayton, Shropshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I should declare an interest. No - I don't know Sebastian Faulks. No - we don't share a publisher - and no - he's never reviewed any of my books. My interest is simple. I'm a P.G.Wodehouse fan. Specifically I'm huge devotee of the Jeeves books. I was therefore solidly in the folded-arms/outraged-that-anyone-should-try-to-imitate-the-master camp, and I bought this book at an airport bookstall simply to confirm my fears that the publishing world had taken leave of its senses. No one, I believed, could ever hope to do anything more than an embarrassing pastiche of Wodehouse's unique style. No one could hope to capture the gentle buffoonery of Bertram Wooster's narrative voice. No one in the Twenty First Century could re-create the gentle country-house farce, could mix allusions from Hymns A&M with Shakespeare and Spinoza, or could nail the affectionate repartee between Jeeves and Wooster.
I was wrong.
It's a coincidence that the last book I reviewed was the new Asterix volume - the first officially sanctioned story by a new writer and illustrator. I gave that a warmish welcome. But frankly, they had a much easier task than Faulks. B Wooster is a much more slippery fish to land than Asterix and Obelix. The almost unbelievable news is that Faulks carries it off with extraordinary aplomb. I was waiting for the lines that would jar or the situation that would affront - and they never came. Within pages you're forced to forget that this isn't Wodehouse, and it isn't an undiscovered volume that you discovered in a dusty second hand book shop. If anything - and it almost pains me to say this - Faulks has improved on the master. I know. I know. But removed from the contemporary context Faulks is able to muse on current events - the General Strike, and the Great War - he is able to speculate on Darwinism. And ... (now here is the real revelation) he is able to endow Bertie with a richer, more rounded personality than P.G. ever allowed him. Is that taking a liberty? I don't think so. Faulks delivers a Jeeves book with a modern bent. He creates a character arc that is notably absent in the originals. The only epiphany that would normally come to Bertie would be the realisation that his spats really weren't de rigeur. In this book, Bertie has a true journey of self discovery. It is remarkable that Faulks delivers this without any sense of betrayal of P.G.'s creation. The ending - which I don't imagine Wodehouse could ever have contemplated (and which I'm surprised the Wodehouse estate agreed to) - is the only significant departure from the proven template - but it is wholly forgivable for being the most satisfying ending of any Jeeves and Wooster book. Please Mr Faulks, start work on the sequel. It is time - and I never believed I could ever think this - to set J&W off on a whole new chapter in their lives.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wooster Sauce, 11 Nov. 2013
By 
Don Davis (Coulsdon, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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Like other reviewers who are devoted fans of The Master, I was highly sceptical when I first heard about Mr Faulk's endeavour, and my first reaction was "How dare they!" But encouraged by some favourable reviews, I decided to give it a go, and I readily admit to being converted. This is not a parody or a pastiche, nor is it simply a reworking of chunks lifted from Plum's original work; it is an entertaining read in its own right, with an original and well developed plot full of typical Wodehouse twists and misunderstandings, masterly use of English throughout - including some very happy turns of phrase that I'm sure Plum himself would have admired and envied - and characters that in my view remain very faithful to the Master's creations.

Another reviewer commented that it was like reading a hitherto undiscovered Wodehouse, and I felt the same; there were times I had to remind myself that it wasn't. I set myself three critical tests:

(i) Did the characters (chiefly Jeeves and Bertie) jar with the characters I had come to know and love, bearing in mind I have read and re-read the entire Wodehouse canon many times over the past 35 years? Well, at one point Bertie mentions the swimming pool at the Drones with the rings over it, but doesn't refer to the time he was forced to take an unexpected plunge into the bath because a fiend had tied the last ring back; I doubt Bertie would have missed the opportunity to vent his perennial grievance over the incident! However, the fact that this one point stood out sharply to me is a measure of how the rest of the time Mr Faulks' characterisations were spot on. I was particularly impressed that he managed the trick of getting Bertie, writing in the first person, to convey thoughts to the reader that he, Bertie, signally fails to grasp, a fundamental facet of Bertie as shaped by the Master. So, critical test passed.

(ii) Was I entertained and amused, bearing in mind my highly developed critical nerve? Well, I couldn't put it down, it had me involved from the start and I laughed out loud at points, rarish for me! Second test passed.

(iii) Would I re-read it more than once? Yes! Third test passed.

I recommend other sceptics to cast aside their understandable resistance and take the plunge.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Jeeves..., 21 Nov. 2013
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Jeeves!
Sir?
That manuscript I left on the hall table for you last night?
I have flicked through it, sir.
And?
The style is pleasing, sir, but the author appears to have an imperfect grasp of our essential relationship.
You mean - it floats but it seldom flies?
Yes sir, as the poet says -
Never mind what the poet says, Jeeves. Save him for later! This is Amazon - they like short pithy - if pithy is the word I'm thinking of - reviews.
Yes, sir.
So four stars will suffice?
Precisely, sir.
Thank you, Jeeves.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shooting the Breeze - Thus Far..., 19 Nov. 2013
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As I am only a third of the way through, it is probably premature to file this entry. My doubt as to whether I can stagger on to the bitter end has led me to jump the gun. When I received JATWB, I dipped in to random sample passages. My initial feeling was " By Jove, this is not bad. The fella's got it about right". And indeed he has. There's no doubt he knows his Wodehouse - so the references to previous experiences and the Wooster language are pretty good but the problem is that like Sebastian Faulk's effort to "write as Ian Fleming" and all the other writers who have attempted follow-ons of much-loved writers, it can't be done. Broadly speaking I'd say Wodehouse is to comic writing as Fred Astaire is to popular dance. Another competent dancer might mimic Astaire's moves but he could never achieve the originality, the joie-de-vivre and the apparent (though hard won) effortlessness of the original, thus with PGW's writing. So, as he was, I believe, aware of this - why did SF bother? And finally, surely it is well established that the World of PGW is not the real world but a parallel idyll, populated with innocent souls who are not of this world, so introducing real events like the General Strike and the suffragette movement stick out like a sore thumb. and "thus far", "shooting the breeze", in 1926? Cloth Ears, anybody.

A day or so later. I have now finished the book - and I have completely revised my opinion. This is a small gem and should not be measured against the Master, P G Wodehouse. It is a charming story told by an excellent writer. It takes PGW's characters and weaves a credible tale around them - not one that Wodehouse would ever have written - but one that gives Bertie a happy ending that no one could have expected but which he richly deserved and with Jeeves still at his elbow. Well done Sebastian Faulks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Work That Has All the Right Elements of a Wodehouse Tale, but Misfires, 28 Dec. 2013
By 
Dr. Laurence Raw (Beckenham, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Written as a deliberate homage to the Master, JEEVES AND THE WEDDING BELLS contains all the elements characteristic of his work. Set in 1926, the action oscillates swiftly between the South of Frances, London - specifically the Drones Club and Bertie Wooster's apartment in Berkeley Square - and a country estate in Dorset, southwest England. The plot weaves its merry way through a complicated tale of love involving Bertie Wooster, a new girlfriend he encounters in France, and the girlfriend's sister who just so happens to be the fiancée of one of Bertie's innumerable friends. Bertie is forced into ever more outlandish pranks, the most outlandish of these being an attempt to steal Debrett's Peerage from the library of one of his hosts. Sebastian Faulks' story offers an interesting twist that I'd never thought of before; he had Bertie and Jeeves reversing roles, with Jeeves impersonating a member of the House of Lords, and Bertie playing his butler. This not only provides the opportunity for much comic business - especially when Bertie tries to serve the guests at dinner - but suggests that social class (and the attitudes associated with it) are not quite as fixed as historians might have us believe. With so many good things it, then why doesn't the book quite work? Partly this is due to Faulks' choice of words; on occasions he uses the kind of expressions that just wouldn't have been current in 1926. On other occasions he makes Jeeves far more voluble than Wodehouse would have had us believe; one of the butler's great virtues was the sheer absence of garrulity. It is at such moments that we understand we are reading a pastiche, whose main purpose seems to be to remind us of the aheer linguistic brilliance of Wodehouse's texts. Maybe that's the best possible aim it could fulfill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Ho Faulks! Tip Top!, 26 Dec. 2013
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Times have changed, and roles have been reversed. It is Bertie Wooster who is up with the larks and having to arrange tea and such for Lord Etringham. To any fan, do not fear, the whole world of Wodehouse has not been turned upon its head. It is just Bertie getting himself into another pickle and needing Jeeves to ascertain all the right facts and get him out of the situation in only the way that Jeeves can.

There are wonderful passages of conversation between Bertie and Jeeves as we discover that maybe Bertie has finally found the woman who has made his heart flutter more continuously. Whilst dreaming away the days Bertie meets Georgiana in Cannes, she is a woman with spark and vitality and has none of the lesser qualities that have dogged past loves like Madeline Bassett and Honoria Glossop. There is only one small problem her guardian has other ideas on who she should marry based on the fact that his stately home. Can Bertie make the right impression when he is in fact doing an impression of Jeeves? There is plenty of mishaps and misunderstandings along the way in true style and whilst perhaps there is a slight overtone of too contemporary now and again these glimpses are momentarily and you are drawn back into the story.

Sebastian Faulks rightly acknowledges that this book is a tribute to Wodehouse and the wonderful characters of Jeeves and Wooster and I know some myself included were probably sceptical about an author taking up the mantle of another work. I think Faulks has hit the right spot, it reminds me of all the stories I have read in the past and makes me want to pick up these books and read more of them. I hope those who discover this book without reading any Wodehouse also discover his back catalogue and know that there is much joy and humour held within the pages whether it be a short story or a novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, 5 Jan. 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Being a long-time fan of P G Wodehouse, it filled me with some trepidation to hear that someone was writing a `homage' to PGW in the form of a book featuring Jeeves and Wooster, those faithful champions of Wodehouse's works who have filled so many people's lives with laughter for so many years.

This book however was a good read, and a sympathetic rendering of a respectful tip of the hat to the master. The characterisations are well rounded, and the narrative a typical Wooster'ian farce of mistaken identities, miscommunications and love and life's losses. The only part that I felt let the work as a whole down was the ending. It was too pat, too neat and too neatly tied off. I say no more for fear of spoilers.

This is a good read, full of wit, good humour and good natured banter. Overall, a standalone good novel which offers a PGW fan another chance to read more of the antics of Jeeves and Wooster. I would happily read any more works by this author that offered more of the same, but I still do think the ending of this book was a bit of a shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P.G. Wodehouse would have approved, 15 July 2014
By 
Sebastian Faulks, in the book's introduction, describes this book as "a tribute" by "a fan" and not "an imitation".

For my money, and as a fellow P.G. Wodehouse fan, I'd say Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is every bit as good as the real thing. Sebastian Faulks is to be congratulated for pulling off the perfect homage.

I smiled, chuckled and on a couple of occasions guffawed, through this charming Jeeves and Wooster story.

P.G. Wodehouse would have approved I'm sure. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells reminds me how much I love the work of P.G. Wodehouse and inspires me to get reading and rereading his books. There is no higher praise.

As you may now, P.G. Wodehouse won the Mark Twain Medal in 1936 for "having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world". Sebastian Faulks has now further added to the happiness of the world with Jeeves and the Wedding Bells.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amusing, uplifting and charming, 22 Dec. 2013
By 
markr - See all my reviews
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I have never read PG Wodehouse, and so had no preconcieved ideas about whether I might like the characters or style - I do enjoy Sebastian Faulks's novels though, and bought this on the strength of that.

This then has been an unexpected delight - amusing, uplifting, charming, and delightful reading, which made me smile and keep reading from start to finish in just a few sittings- and I thoroughly recommend it. I can't comment on how it compares with the originals yet - but the author and the Wodehouse family have expressed the hope that this will lead new readers to sample some of the original stories - and I shall certainly do that, having enjoyed this book so much
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely homage to PG Wodehouse, 15 Dec. 2013
By 
J. W. Platt "Author of the Book" (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Audio CD)
This is a fine and funny Jeeves and Wooster romp by an author at the top of his game, who has faithfully maintained the classic Wodehousian traditions which make the pair's adventures so timeless. The reader, in the first person role of Bertie, manages to sound very like Richard Briers i thought, which added to the enjoyment of the work. If his Bertie was a tour de force, his Jeeves was slightly less so, yet still measured in just the right way. I found the ending, in which the strings are all so happily drawn together, quite emotional, and with one or two very satisfying twists, of which I am sure P G would approve.
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Jeeves and the Wedding Bells
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks (Audio CD - 7 Nov. 2013)
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