Something New 1915 is the first installment of P G Wodehouse s Blandings Castle stories This story follows Ashe Marson into the drafty halls of Blandings Castle, where he will try to make Something New of his life by purloining a rare Egyptian scarab all for the best motives, of course.
Ashe Marson is a hack writer who churns out pulp detective stories which involve The Adventures of Gridley Quayle Tired of this life, but not quite knowing what to do about it, he makes the acquaintance of his upstairs neighbor Joan Valentine She prompts him to action read the papers read the advertisement columns I m sure you will find something sooner or later Don t get into a groove Be an adventurer Snatch at the next chance, whatever it is And he does After reading and answering the following want ad Wanted Young Man of Good Appearance who is poor and reckless, to undertake delicate and dangerous enterprise Good pay for the right man he finds himself in the employ of J Preston Peters He will appear as this American millionaire s valet on a trip to Blandings Castle, but his real mission will be to steal back a priceless scarab which has made its way into Lord Emsworth s collection through a series of misadventures What follows is a delightful romp through the halls of the English country homeit seems everyone in the Castle has a reason to be roaming about at night and what should be a very simple little matter of picking up the scarab it s not even in a locked case and stowing it away in a handy pocket becomes a veritable circus of unlikely events Who knew so many people would be interested in the scarab This may be early Wodehouse, but he is already on the top of his game with ready wit and impossible situations I found myself chuckling throughout the entire piece The night time adventure involving Baxter Lord Emsworth s impeccable secretary , a bottle of wine, a bit of cold tongue and various bits of crockery and furniture is the highlight of the adventure I look forward to future adventures at Blandings Castle as I make my way through the remainder of my Wodehouse Challenge books Four stars.
One Thing That Constantly Disrupts The Peace Of Life At Blandings Is The Constant Incursion Of Impostors Blandings Has Impostors Like Other Houses Have Mice Now There Are Two Of Them Both Intent On A Dangerous Enterprise Lord Emsworth S Secretary, The Efficient Baxter, Is On The Alert And Determined To Discover What Is Afoot Despite The Distractions Caused By The Honorable Freddie Threepwood S Hapless Affair Of The Heart 4.
5 Ashe and Joan Stars Ashe and Joan, because they were my favorite characters in this book This is my first PG Wodehouse book and it was so much better than I expected it to be This book is about a gathering in Blanding Castle where three people are after a scarab for their own purposes The owner of the scarab is a very absent minded person and does not really care about the scarab so it is only those three people who will be at loss if the scarab is stolen by a forth unknown person The whole book is full of witticism and lots of puns DAshe and Joan are the best elements of this book Ashe, a handsome story writer happens to meet Joan, who is independent woman and together they try to steal the scarab for some money view spoiler They don t get the scarab but they surely get each other hide spoiler Great fun and a perfect mid winter cheering potion This I am delighted to say is the first of a whole series of satiric novels set at Blandings Castle and featuring the absent minded Lord Emsworth and his clueless son Freddie If British upper class really was this dumb, and I suspect great swaths of it might have been, it s a wonder the country survived and no wonder at all the the Empire was lost.
Plenty of sharply humorous elbow digs at upstart Americans, the hack publishing industry, overzealous staff, etc Wodehouse fans will revel in his trademark witty dialog and madcap plotting and will find this one all the endearing thanks to a charming couple of young people who are clearly meant for each other right from their very first, very funny meeting You ll be rooting for them, too.
Content G with some ethically questionable goings on surrounding a missing scarab.
Something Fresh, first instalment of the Blandings series, is a brilliant comedy Once again, Wodehouse succeeds in juggling with several convoluted plot threads to great entertainment It is truly amazing how he doesn t get entangled Lord Emsworth, the forgetful and kleptomaniac earl of Blandings Castle, has appropriated himself of the prized possession of a wealthy American collector, who happens to be the father of his youngest son s fiancee One can only imagine the ire of the hypochondriac magnate who will do anything to get his scarab back, even to the extend of employing someone to steal it back Add to this a romance or two, blackmailing, a detective writer, a secretary with bulldog tendencies, and a butler with a troubled stomach Life is anything but quiet at Blandings, especially in the middle of the night Although this novel was published in 1915 and shows a social world that doesn t exist any, Wodehouse is still a brilliant read today due to his colourful characters all larger than life and yet believable , witty dialogue, and scene staging The resulting book is not only extremely entertaining but also very cinematographic I often had the impression of seeing a film while reading it 0 The book that marked the transformation of Wodehouse from a good writer to a phenomenon.
Its an amazing experience to see him effortlessly driving into every turn in the language and painting every shade of humour that can ever occur to the human mind.
from the cover of my edition Wodehouse is the greatest comic writer ever I have no quarell with this Douglas Adams quote, it may set the stakes rather high, but the first book of the Blandings Castle Saga rises to the occasion and provided a jolly good time Maybe not the best of the series, being one of the author s early books published first in 1915, but a solid introduction to the characters and the setting that would draw the author back for 10 novels and 9 short stories And what a lovely place this is Note my review is for the Something New original text I understand the only important difference to the Something Fresh revised edition is the American origin for some of the characters Actually, this is what I would like to start with the novel is built around two opposing world views, the dynamic, decisive and fresh cousins from across the ocean meeting the complacent, slightly clueless and decadent upper class from the home country The story doesn t actually get to Blandings Castle until quite late in the proceedings The action starts in London, on a beautiful Spring morning, with the meeting between to young expats down on their luck Ashe Marson and Joan Valentine, both writers of stories for popular magazines, after trying various other positions on the job market The American contingent is completed by a friend of Joan, mild mannered Aline Peters, her millionaire father J Preston Peters, a collector of scarabs, and a childhood friend of Aline, Mr George Emerson Leading the British pack is Clarence, Lord Emsworth 9th of the line, his younger son, the Honorable Freddie Threepwood, engaged to Aline and an ardent fan of the detective stories written by Ashe, numerous relatives and servants at the castle plus a shady Londoner that goes by the name of R Jones The plot is the usual fare for a Wodehouse novel, involving a lavish country house, fake identities, engagements in danger of being broken, absent minded nobility and stern servants, hijinks in the middle of the night best scene in the book by far trying to steal a hilarious McGuffin in the form of an Egyptian scarab of the reign of Cheops of the Fourth Dynasty, and the inevitable blossoming of romanceIf girls realized their responsibilities they would be so careful when they smiled that they would probably abandon the practice altogether There are moments in a man s life whe a girl s smile can have as important results as an explosion of dynamite.
Wodehouse sense of timing is flawless as usual, coreographing the movements of each character up and down stairs, in and out of guestrooms and servants quarters, strolling around the park or dashing into the neighboring village, like a master puppeteer with ten hands instead of two Of the Blandings Castle characters of note, the Efficient Baxter, secretary to Lord Emsworth interested in gardening and furniture painting than in his numerous guests , is the one who pushes the story forward, acts as a self appointed crime investigator and is the victim of most of the jokes and pranks, a role that would later be taken by various village policemen Some of my favorite scenes from the novel describe the rigid pecking order among the serving staff led by Mr Beach, the head butler and Mrs Twemlow, the housekeeper This is all a great puzzle for the libertarian Ashe, a sequence used by the author to ridicule the affectations of the English society An apparent paradox, where the lower classes are adherring to the rules strictly than the masters, seen also in the relations between Jeeves and Bertie Wooster Speaking of Bertie, there s a guest at the castle that I m curious about and would like to know about The Honorable Algernon Wooster It s not only the coincidence of my Goodreads nickname this comes from another book about a mouse , it s the question of his relation with the hero of the other major series by Wodehouse, and where else he makes an appearance He plays quite a minor role here, but I would like to meet him again.
A second theme of ardent social actuality at the time and present in many Wodehouse novels, is the emancipation of women, a battle that was far from won in 1915 It is left to fiery, self reliant Joan Valentine to carry the torch for womanhood and to cut young Ashe attempts at chivalry in the bud, demanding equal treatment and a share in all the excitementIt won t do, Mr Marson You remind me of an old cat I once had Whenever he killed a mouse he would bring it into the drawing room and lay it affectionately at my feet I would reject the corpse with horror and turn him out, but back he would come with his loathsome gift I simply couldn t make him understand that he was not doing me a kindness He thought highly of his mouse and it was beyond him to realize that I did not want it You are just the same with your chivalry It s very kind of you to keep offering me your dead mouse but honestly, I have no use for it I won t take favors just because I happen to be a female Beside the already mentioned timing, the author is renowned for his use of the English language While I felt that Something Fresh had less of his signature intricate constructions and wild similes, there were many pages where I stopped to re read and savour a particular turn of phrase like sipping a fine dram of old scotch Here s one I selected for the closing of my remarksAmong the compensations of advancing age is a wholesome pessimism, which, though it takes the fine edge off of whatever triumphs may come to us, has the admirable effect of preventing Fate from working off on us any of those gold bricks, coins with strings attached, and unhatched chickens, at which ardent youth snatches with such enthusiasm, to its subsequent disappointment As we emerge from the twenties we grow into a habit of mind that looks askance at Fate bearing gifts We miss, perhaps, the occasional prize, but we also avoid leaping light heartedly into traps Hurray for the youthfull leaps I say They make for great comedy.
5 stars A light, amusing snack between meatier meals, this is the first installment in Wodehouse s Blandings Castle series and every bit as silly, witty and delightfully early 20th century published in 1915 as the other books I ve read by him though I think I prefer Jeeves Wooster.
The characters who people the Blandings series are the dotty Lord Emsworth, his no good but basically harmless son, Freddie, an officious secretary, Baxter, and Beach the butler However, the two main characters in this first one who unfortunately then disappear out of sight after this installment are Ashe Marson, a writer of detective novels, and Joan Valentine, a woman who lives in Ashe s building and whom he meets when she laughs at him doing his Larsen exercises They are both in need of money and adventure, and after a completely unlikely mix up of a misplaced scarab, they find themselves at Blandings Castle pretending to be something they are not in order to retrieve said scarab Misunderstandings ensue, crazy conversations follow and other silly characters enter the scene in short Wodehouse s trademark devices abound.
Some of the slapstick is a bit too silly for my taste it s the little asides that had me chucklinghe looked to the wallpaper for inspiration, and chuckle I did once the whole cast had finally arrived at Blandings Castle Already in the preface, we know what we re in for here Wodehouse describes why his American editor wanted him to use his full name, Pelham Grenville Wodehouse A writer in America at that time who went about without three names was practically going around naked.
Evelyn Waugh a devout fan of Wodehouse s had this to say about him and Blandings CastleFor Wodehouse there has been no fall of Man The gardens of Blandings Castle are the original gardens of Eden from which we are all exiledHis stories may not be profound, but they are quirky, funny, utterly English from a time gone by, alas , witty and heartwarming.
Delightfully light bedtime reading, a few pages each night No author is quite like P.
G Wodehouse he is the master of cliche cliche of plot, of characters, of description, of dialogue And yet he manages to accomplish all this with lightness and freshness Which is what makes him so very droll and delightful His books are absolute fluff, and what wonderful fluff it is