Jeeves and Wooster: A Novel Not By Wodehouse
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks
Hmm. I have to admit that I was prepared not to like this book. I mean, a Jeeves and Wooster novel that wasn't written by P.G. Wodehouse? What a strange idea. That is just wrong, isn't it?
Actually, it was me. I was wrong.
I approached this book warily. In fact, I think the reason I started reading it at all was so that I could rubbish it. I'm such a Wodehouse fan and surely, a pastiche or homage, call it what you will, was almost sacrilege? I was very prepared not to like this book one iota.
A fabulous book
I was truly surprised. I was so determined to disapprove. How could some upstart have the temerity (I think I'm inadvertently using Jeevesian words here) to think that he could produce anything like an even remotely credible Jeeves and Wooster story?
Pah. As Bertie might say, sheer piffle, my good man. So how did Faulks do when he attempted this task?
In a word, admirably.
Commissioned by the Wodehouse estate
Sebastian Faulks is not just some upstart. He is a respected British author who appears regularly on the radio and television. And this book was a commission from the Wodehouse estate itself. (I'd love to know the exact wording of that commission.)
The plot is as convoluted as any Jeeves and Wooster book you've ever read. As well as the two main characters, you'll see familiar names - Sir Roderick Glossop, Stinker Pinker, Stiffy Byng - but you'll also meet new and fascinating characters.
But you will also notice that Bertie, whilst essentially the same character we know and love, is no longer quite as 'mentally negligible' (as Jeeves once described him). After all, he has been subjected to Jeeves' influence for quite some time now; sparks of which begin to reveal themselves.
It would completely ruin your enjoyment of this excellent book if I were to disclose the plot but I can at least tell you about the first chapter (which should have you speeding to the buy button below to place your order).
As the book begins, Bertie awakes, not in his luxurious Berkeley residence, but in the servants' quarters of the country home of Sir Henry Hackwood. Struggling to compose himself, he acts the part of a gentleman's gentleman and takes morning tea to his employer, Lord Etringham.
But Lord Etringham is none other than Jeeves.
Due to what Wodehouse would refer to as a concatenation of circumstances, Jeeves is impersonating the noble gentleman and Bertie is obliged to perform the functions of his valet.
You will be hooked immediately. What brought this about? How on earth is this story going to unfold?
See what I mean?
As Jeeves might say 'I would strongly recommend sir, that you take full advantage of the orange buttonlike device on the right hand side of the page and purchase this volume at your earliest convenience. It makes light, pleasant reading. Will that be all for this evening, sir?'
Note: He might also say:
'If I might take the liberty sir, I most strongly advise that you do not avail yourself of the reviews you will see on what I believe is termed the Amazon website. You will invariably find that the masses have inadvisably penned certain denouements that would spoil your full enjoyment of this slim volume. The element of surprise is of the essence, sir'.
He'd be right too. The last thing you need with this book is a series of spoilers that would mar your pleasure.
Also highly recommended
I recently read and reviewed this excellent biography about the master himself.I was astonished by his life story.
I had always imagined that this mild and scholarly author lived his life (and wrote) in some idyllic country village, uninterrupted by the 'real world'.
Again, I was wrong. This book is a must for the Wodehouse fan.
Meet the author
This is truly fascinating. This shows Sebastian Faulks in an episode of one of his television programmes explaining why characters in novels mean so much to us.
This episode concentrates on 'the hero'. Fascinating viewing.