The only problem with his books is how quickly you get through them, even when you re making an effort to savor them Still, in the end, you re left with a warm, satisfied feeling, similar to drinking hot cocoa but not limited to your stomach I highly recommend all Wodehouse, but this one in particular is especially lovely.
Excellent And I finished it again in August of 2017.
In my view, PG Wodehouse is the the greatest ever writer of English in terms of pure style His prose is elegant, light, airy and seemingly effortless There can surely be no readable a writer Wodehouse chose to devote his enviable talent to the creation of stories that can best be described as trifles They are invariably fluffy comedies with preposterous plots and larger than life characters Their sole purpose is entertainment He is, of course, best known for his Jeeves and Wooster tales, which are wonderful I have a particular fondness for his Ukridge stories Hot Water is typical of his non series novels With its convoluted plot and reliance on coincidence, it s the literary equivalent of a Georges Feydau stage farce It also reminds me of the madcap theatre productions that master farceur Ray Cooney wrote, directed and starred in in London s West End in the 1970s and 1980s Set in the 1920s in Brittany, France, Hot Water features J Wellington Gedge Gedge is a young Californian who used to be rich but who is now dependent on his wife, the widow of an American oil multi millionaire, for his money They live in Chateau Blissac, in a town called St Rocque The pushy and domineering Mrs Gedge is determined to secure her husband s appointment as the United States Ambassador to France Gedge, who likes a quiet life, wants no such position Into this mix come Jane Opal and her father, Senator Ambrose Opal Jane is engaged to novelist Blair Eggleston but is really in love with Packy Franklyn, a Yale football star Franklyn is engaged to the very beautiful and controlling Lady Beatrice Bracken Also involved are two American low level hoodlums and Vicomte de Blissac, the heir to Chateau Blissac These are the principal characters in a plot that involves safe breaking, blackmail, impersonation, confidence trickery and theft It s all good fun and is a great pleasure to read There are numerous twists and turns and, because of that, the reader perhaps needs to concentrate on the precise details of the plot rather than is usual with a Wodehouse story Appreciation of comedy is, of course, a very personal thing It s therefore difficult to summarise Wodehouse s appeal Novelist Evelyn Waugh perhaps did so best in this citation, which appears usually in abbreviated form on the dust jackets of many of Wodehouse s books Mr Wodehouse s idyllic world can never stale He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be irksome than our own He has made a world for us to live in and delight in A good example of Wodehouse s beautifully simple but seductive writing style is this brief extract from chapter 1 of Hot Water Who s going to be Ambassador to France said Mr Gedge, mystified He could not have asked a convenient question It enabled Mrs Gedge to place the salient facts before him crisply and without further preamble You are , she said That succinct prose sums up Wodehouse s exquisite way with words and makes reading his stories so pleasurable Hot Water is a very enjoyable light comedy I loved it 9 10.
Hot Water 1932 is peak P.
G Wodehouse Much of the story takes place at the Ch teau Blissac in St Rocque Wodehouse s fictional Monte Carlo which makes for an interesting change Wodehouse delightfully captures the atmosphere of France in the 1930s The plot embraces American senators, English aristocrats, safe crackers, con men, jewel thieves, and a Bloomsbury novelist Hot Water contains none of Wodehouse s regular characters however the various types he often deploys are all present and correct No one is quite who they appear which makes keeps this interesting and it is in turns funny, sentimental, and exciting Yet Wodehouse magic 4 5 I came round to this at the end I ve discovered that the way to enjoy Wodehouse fully is to make sure you read good stretches of him at a sitting the plots are so intricate that if you read just a few pages before drifting off at night, you are hopelessly stuck as to who was pretending to be whom when you next pick the book up.
Anyway, I think this was the most elaborately plotted piece of his I ve read, and I m not going to attempt any sort of summary Suffice it to say that I wanted all the time to be watching the action unfold on stage If there is a stage script out there somewhere, I d be interested to know.
It was nice to see Soup Slattery and Gordon Oily Carlisle popping up again I can t remember where I encountered them before Piccadilly Jim and nice also to see the jumped up Mrs Gedge getting her come uppance at the end in the nicest most semi romantic way.
I liked also a couple of features of Wodehouse s style There s the I m not going to remind you, dear reader, of the plot that has gone before, but I will just make sure you know how things stand at the moment technique I like this the plotting really is complicated and it s good to have a breather and be assured that you know what you thought you knew The other is to cut back on those long periphrastic circumlocutions and I know that s pleonastic, perhaps even tautological, but excuse my enthusiasm for the polysyllable narratives you often get when a character is in a corner The duty of a chronicler to his readers is to sift and select Whatever of his material is not, in his opinion, of potential interest he must exclude Out, therefore, in toto goes the story of what Senator Opal remembered in Washington This allows the reader another welcome breather as well as the author a chance to cut to the chase And I like the authorial intrusion a kind of knowing Chaucerian moment where the author cheekily invites the reader to admire his her command of the storytelling Several friends of mine loathe that, but I have to say I rather like it.
I also think Wodehouse can do sex very decently I know he s not exactly a D.
H Lawrence in this respect, but he can in his restraint suggest something than a silly young man and a silly young woman looking with foolishly googly eyes at each other He eyed her mournfully She was wearing a blue negligee, and in a blue negligee, as the records have shown, she looked charming So charming, indeed, that something suddenly seemed to explode inside Packy like a bomb, and remorse was swept away on the tide of another emotion Well, it works for me.
Having been prepared to offer a grudging three stars to this rather jolly caper, I ve tossed it an extra one It holds back from five because I would even though I enjoyed the plotting have liked the story to be a little less complicated, frankly, and for there to have been something in terms of characterization.
PG Wodehouse is at his merriest and his maddest in Hot Water in which a whole host of disparate characters gather together to produce an hilarious turn of events at the Ch teau Blissac close to the French town of St Rocque.
The characters names themselves Blair Eggleston, Gordon Oily Carlisle, Gertrude Carlisle, J Wellinton Gedge, Medway, Julia Gedge, Kate Amelia Putnam, Ambrose Opal, Jane Opal, Maurice de Blissac, Soup Slattery, Patrick B Packy Franklyn, Beatrice Brackin, Octave, Gwendolyn Blinkhorn, Mabel Brewster and Parker might even excite the imagination without any knowledge of what they get up to But once we learn what each one is about the mayhem begins.
Mistaken identities, broken engagements, secret assignations, family squabbles, ambitious plans, surprising turns of events, unexpected arrivals and various nefarious activities abound throughout the story It is the small of stature but wealthy J Wellington Gedge and his somewhat larger and domineering wife who take the action to the Ch teau Blissac amd once there they are joined by all the characters mentioned who all have their own itinerary, some of them intertwined with one another But that scenario of intertwining only complicates matters and confuses nearly everybody, particularly the Gedges A novelist who according to his girlfriend doesn t use plots turned valet, an American senator and his wife, a safe breaker, a confidence trickster, a man about town and ladies in and out of love are all involved in the confusion All the characters are handled in PG s usual and irresistible style and are constantly amusing admittedly, occasionally arousing pathos and the incidents that they become involved in are all hilarious, hilarious enough at times to evoke laugh out loud moments Hot Water is PG at his best and funniest It is well worth the read to brighten up any dull day.
The GR blurb is At French seaside Ch teau Blissac, J Wellington Gedge from California wants to go home His larger richer wife wants him to be a Paris Ambassador, blackmails Senator Opal, publicly dry, with a letter to his bootlegger in her safe Jewels attract criminals tough Soup Slattery and Oily Carlisle, who mourn female partners who have deserted them Amid confusion of assumed identities and one real undercover detective, Packy Patrick Franklyn, rich ex Yale footballer, wants Jane Opal to be happy Jane s fianc poor writer Egg Blair Eggleston is touted by Packy s fianc e culture lofty Lady Beatrice Bracken Rakish Veek Vicomte de Blissac returns for holiday festival where men drink, fight, and find love or at least rewards from safebreaking.
Bit below par it seemed to me I was thinking about the cliche X on a bad day is still better than most Ys at their best , and it seems to me that it doesn t apply here sometimes with Wodehouse you get the impression he s straining after his own tone, and when he misses it, he can be pretty pedestrian Example there s a little running bit on the theme of an imaginary German sociologist with precise statistics for how young men rejected in love will react On a good day Wodehouse could no doubt be hilarious with this, but in fact he just reels off a few labouredly facetiously precise figures for exactly when the person concerned does this and that, and tells it all in lengthy convoluted sentences with the verb right at the end Ho ho.
I write as you can see if you look at my stats here as a huge Wodehouse fan This is like flat lager for sheer enjoyment value Well, half flat lager maybe Just about swallowable if there s no good stuff around and you really need a drink.
Odd really, considering it was written in 1932, as he was gearing up to, and indeed already producing, some of his greatest stuff.
At French Seaside Ch Teau Blissac, J Wellington Gedge From California Wants To Go Home His Larger Richer Wife Wants Him To Be A Paris Ambassador, Blackmails Senator Opal, Publicly Dry, With A Letter To His Bootlegger In Her Safe Jewels Attract Criminals Tough Soup Slattery And Oily Carlisle, Who Mourn Female Partners Here Unknown Amid Confusion Of Assumed Identities And One Real Undercover Detective, Packy Patrick Franklyn, Rich Ex Yale Footballer, Wants Jane Opal To Be Happy Jane S Fianc Poor Writer Egg Blair Eggleston Is Touted By Packy S Fianc E Culture Lofty Lady Beatrice Bracken Rakish Veek Vicomte De Blissac Returns For Holiday Festival Where Men Drink, Fight, And Find Love Or At Least Reward From Safe Hot Water is a delightful farce set in the north of France at the Chateau Blissac, Brittany and in London, containing a mixture of romance, intrigue and Wodehouse s brand of humor.
The story recounts the various romantic and criminal goings on during a house party, hosted by the Vicomte Blissac It was another reminder to me what a serious business comedy is Supposedly one of Wodehouse s elaborate farces I appreciated visiting with a very different set of characters not that I don t enjoy the usual Blanding s and Jeeves Wooster set.