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The funniest writer ever to wield a pen.,
This review is from: Carry On, Jeeves: (Jeeves & Wooster) (Paperback)
There have been many excellent comic writers throughout the ages, but surely there has never been one as good as P G Wodehouse. With a canon of work stretching back now over 100 years he is almost unrivalled in his output, and has produced some of the funniest passages of prose ever committed to paper.
If you like your humour edgy, gritty and hard-hitting then you've come to the wrong place. There's not so much as one thing in any of his books that you wouldn't be happy to trot out in front of your most straight-laced maiden aunt. He never once relies on the slightest hint of crudeness, but instead revels in the richness of the English language to get his laughs and there's never so much as one word in his prose that's surplus to requirement, or indeed a passage approaching anything less than perfect in its pace or construction. It's as if his work was edited by some sort of super human deity. There is nothing jarring or awkward; just fabulous comic writing page after page, time and time again.
His command of the perfect sentence is second to none and his light touch is just peerless. He can deliver the most barbed comment and make it sound like the most pleasant of compliments. Wodehouse's work is nothing short of true genius; if I may use that most horrible of overused expressions.
I first read this particular book 35+ years ago as a mere stripling myself, and have read and reread it over and over so may times since. I don't think that in all of those encounters I have ever read it and not found some new additional little gem between its pages that I had somehow managed to miss on previous readings.
Wodehouse is pure farce in its most distilled form, and even if you're feeling like everything's become too much and the prospect of leaping off a cliff beckons as a viable way forward, then just start reading this and you'll banish all such thoughts within the first two pages. There are some truly brilliant short stories here, without even the hint of a dud anywhere to be found; one of particular note, where unusually the narrator is Jeeves and not Wooster, is 'Bertie Changes His Mind'. It is simply wonderful in its execution and the section where Bertie has to address the school assembly of young ladies is, for me, priceless. I can't think of a funnier three pages in any book anywhere.
If you haven't read Wodehouse before then do yourself a favour; start here and work your way through Jeeves and Wooster. But then don't just stop after that, read the Blandings saga, Psmith, Mr Mulliner and his hilarious golf stories too. Then there are the standalone one-offs to explore. I believe there are almost 100 books one way or the other and I have never found a turkey in among them. I think I've read practically everything he's written in book form, and with a bit of luck and a following wind I certainly intend to do so again and often.