Not George Washington (Everyman's Library P G WODEHOUSE) Hardcover – 1 May 2014
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"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)
Not George Washington is a semi-autobiographical novel by P. G. Wodehouse. An Early Wodehouse presented in a beautiful hardback edition.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
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.
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.
The books are a fantastic read, and this edition will please every Wodehouse fan.
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