G Wodehouse s The Mating Season, where a faked identity might be the only thing that saves our hero Bertie Wooster from the horrors of marriage This is one of my personal favorite Wodehouses It amps up the daffy mishaps tenfold The storyline gets delightfully twisted intentionally as half the cast pretends to be someone they re not in an effort to get out of one fix or another Even the usually incorruptibly proper Jeeves gets in on the ruse, doing his utmost for his employer Wooster, who s doing his utmost to remain unmarried to the utmost drip, aka Madeline Bassett, while possibly hitching her up with his loopy, newt loving friend Gussie Bassett indeed Wodehouse pushes his penchant for ridiculous names to the absolute limit in this volume There are Haddocks, Fink Nottles and even a Catsmeat Potter Pirbright And practically none are willing to lay claim to their true names Do you blame them I highly recommend you go ahead and embroil yourself up to the eyeballs in the confusticatingly good time comedy that is The Mating Season.
Source The Mating Season, Bertie Wooster finds himself yet again entangled with Madeline Bassett Bertie Wooster, his manservant Jeeves, and a bunch of Bertie s friends Gussie Fink Nottle, Madeline Bassett, and Catsmeat Potter Pirbright end up on holiday at the country manor Deverill Hall, but at very different times Deverill Hall is the home of five intimidating aunts led by a hoity toity matriarch molded in the image of Aunt Agatha Dame Daphne Winkworth Bertie has been invited to lend an urbane and sophisticated note to a village concert there, which is being organized by the Vicar and Catsmeat s sister Corky But Bertie has far grave concerns than whether or not he will make a fool of himself to please Corky and Dame Daphne Only Gussie, Catsmeat and Bertie are expected at Deverill Hall initially, but Bertie ends up driving down there without Gussie This is because Gussie has gotten himself arrested and if Madeline finds out, she will definitely break off her engagement to Gussie and run to marry Bertie instead Bertie cannot imagine a fate worse than being married to the kooky, bizarre, airheaded Madeline, so he decides to impersonate Gussie at Deverill Hall so that Dame Daphne will be fooled and word won t get out that Gussie was arrested Jeeves shakes his head at this, knowingly it will end terribly, and he is proven right when Gussie unexpectedly arrives he was let out on bail, and hastily tries to mend things by saying he is Bertie Wooster Meanwhile, Corky of the vicarage, Catsmeat s sister, is in love with the young heir to Deverill Hall, Esmond Since Dame Daphne is Esmond s aunt, Corky wants to remain on good terms with Dame Daphne but also realizes she cannot the older woman will never thaw in her disapproval of Corky Matters are complicated when Gussie, who has been rehearsing the concert with Corky while impersonating Bertie, falls in love with her Meanwhile, Catsmeat is in love with the sprightly, bright eyed Gertrude, Dame Daphne s daughter Alas, Gertrude is being eyed by Esmond a little as well, and Aunt Agatha wants Bertie to marry her Everything threatens to fall apart when it appears that Madeline and Aunt Agatha might arrive at Deverill Hall, since they know what Bertie looks like, but Jeeves ably comes to the rescue by helping Aunt Agatha s son escape from school for a little holiday in the village with Jeeves and Bertie, while Aunt Agatha, terrified of her son s whereabouts by this cruel prank, searches for her son in the school s county Jeeves solves the problems of the couples next, helping Catsmeat arrange a secret elopement with Gertrude, thus getting her out of the picture for Bertie, Corky and Esmond, while Esmond plans to win Corky over completely by performing well at her concert Unfortunately, Esmond is completely tied to his aunts apron strings, which is part of the reason why he can t marry Corky without their approval, and this dependency is shown again when it s revealed that Esmond s song for Corky s concert was written by two of his aunts, and is terrible But wise Jeeves thinks that if Esmond s performance goes well, he will finally gain enough confidence to become his own man and make his own decisions Meanwhile, Corky plays up Gussie s crush on her to make Esmond jealous, and both Bertie and Jeeves tell her to stop it Esmond s song ends up doing exactly what Jeeves predicted, and he does finally gain the courage Meanwhile, the danger of Madeline remains, especially as she turns up at Deverill Hall and Gussie wants to break it off with her Jeeves mends bridges between the two before Madeline can blow the whistle by convincing Gussie that Corky does not care for him After Gussie breaks into a police cottage to rescue a friend, Jeeves manipulates Madeline into saving him by saying that he went there to rescue her, and the lovers are reunited once again.
There are books which you read and think Psh I could write that And better Well, this is not one of those books There is no doubt in my mind that I could never produce anything of such brilliance Wodehouse has such a way with words The sentences are full of rhythm and flow effortlessly The punchline is delivered with a perfect timing and will have you chuckle The plot is as you would expect it to be from a comedy of manners There are romantic entanglements and romantic misunderstandings, mistaken identities, blunders, and on top of that, five horrid aunts four old maidens and one widow that form the biggest obstacle on our characters road to happiness Personally, I feel the five aunt plot device was underdeveloped There was so much potential in it but it seemed that Wodehouse decided to let the aunts be on this occasion.
I am surprised that most people seem to think that Wooster is bit of a saphead How can that be so First of all, he is Hugh Laurie, that is, Doctor House, who is very smart So that alone rules out his stupidity Second of all, Wooster is the narrator, and the narrative, as I have already said, is nothing short of genius So I ask you, how can he be stupid I say, give me Wooster anytime of the day and I will take him gladly, keep him and never let him go Also he is a very patient man as well, because I thought I would have definitely punched Jeeves if he said Indeed, sir one time And to end this review, shall I leave you with a quote Except for knowing that when you ve heard one, you ve heard them all, I m not really an authority on violin solos, so cannot state definitely whether La Pulbrook s was or was not a credit to the accomplices who had taught her the use of the instrument It was loud in spots and less loud in other spots, and it had that quality which I have noticed in all violin solos, of seeming to last much longer than it actually did in case you have just landed on this planet recently, I am referring to the popular British show in which Wooster was played by Hugh Laurie.
9 10 Once again P.
Wodehouse explores the subject of romance in this new Jeeves and Wooster novel It is somewhat inevitable, becauseThis is springtime, The Mating Season, when, as you probably know, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnished dove and a young man s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love As a result of a hilarious opening scene involving Gussie Fink Nottle, the search for newts inside the fountain in Trafalgar Square and a policeman, Bertie is forced to intervene in order to save his relationship with Madeline Bassett He reluctantly leaves the comfort of his London apartment for a weekend in the country at Deverill Hall, Hampshire In this idyllic locationone of those villages where picturesque cottages breed like rabbits, Cupid has been real busy and only the stalwart Jeeves could hope to unravel the tangled relationships involving Claude Cattermole Pirbright a.
a Catsmeat, his sister Cora Pirbright a.
a Corkya persuasive young gumboiland former partner of Bertie in dancing school, Esmond Haddock amateur singer at village festivals, his cousin Gertrude Winkworth, Queenie a parlourmaid at Deverill Hall and her beau village Constable Ernest Dobbs Complicating matters as usual are a bevy of aunts no less than five, when usually one is than enough Adding to the mayhem are Bertie s nephew Thomas and a dog with an intense animosity for policemen.
In all this romance saturated atmosphere, Bertie Wooster is the only one who regards marriage with dread, as exemplified in this dialogue with JeevesI tell you Jeeves, the spirits are low I don t know if you have been tied hand and foot to a chair in front of a barrell of gunpowder with an inch of lighted candle on top of it No, sir, I have not had the experience Well, that s how I m feeling I m just clenching the teeth and waiting for the bang His Nemesis is once again Madeline Bassett, an encounter between the two producing my favorite scene from the book, when in trying to retrieve a compromising letter, Bertie is caught in flagrante and compared to a tragedy stricken lover from a book by Rosie M Banks.
As usual for a P G Wodehouse novel, his similes are insanely hilarious, like this introduction of reverend Sidney PirbrightA tall, drooping man, looking as if he has been stuffed in a hurry by an incompetent taxidermistMy respect for him as an author was raised to a new high when I come upon this passage, where he rips the fourth wall and addresses the reader directly with his professional credoIn dishing up this narrative for family consumption, it has been my constant aim throughout to get the right word in the right place and to avoid fobbing the customers off with something weak and inexpressive when they have a right to expect the telling phrase It means a bit of extra work, but one has one s code The passage was originated when the author, not satisfied with the word came in a previous phrase, replaced it with curvetted To give an idea of his incredible range, here is what Wodehouse substitutes in the book for drunk scrooched, fried to the tonsils, pie eyed, lathered, a mite polluted, doing the Lost Weekend, getting tight, pleasantly mellowedI ve reached the end of the book, as usual, with a happy smile on my face, and with the pleasant thought that there are still so many books by the author waiting patiently for their turn on my reading list.
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Jeeves, as is his habit, comes to the rescue of many an asundered soul This book involves hoards of aunts, their nephews, nieces, Bertie, Jeeves and guest appearance by Thos, Bertie s transmitting of a cousin.
The sundered hearts are Corky Edmond, Catsmeat Gertrude, Gussy Madeline, Queenie Dobbsthe masquerades are Gussy Bertie who impersonate each other due to a peculiar set of circumstances involving Traffalgar square and its fountains, newts, policemen, judges, heartbreaks and Catsmeat impersonating a butler, Meadows.
There are 6 aunts, each a terror,on her own, and withering nephews, plucky girls and hilarious plots.
my advice never read a Wodehouse in public People will get a wrong impression about your sanity.
The interconnectivity of things, part 94.
Perhaps I shouldn t have been surprised, as the fiction of Wodehouse is nothing if not brimming full of literary allusions, but I was distinctly pleased to come across a direct reference to Robert Browning s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came Having spent the previous two weeks reading the fourth volume of Stephen King s Dark Tower series, which takes its inspiration from that very poem, it seemed as if the world was all coming together in a series of exciting connections The synapses of my mind fizzed and popped as a consequence Okay, on a very basic level this is man reads book which reminds him of previous book, but I always like the thrill when coincidence takes two very different things and folds them over each other After all these are two very disparate examples of popular literature in tone, plot and style and I was expecting little which would directly connect them But here it was And it set me thinking, if there are doorways which take Roland of Gilead into New York, why aren t there doorways to take him into Bertie Wooster s world Wouldn t we all like to see Roland and Bertie try to find some space on common ground Once you think of it, isn t there a gap in that Ka Tet for a dashing young hero in spats Wouldn t Jeeves come up with a doozy of a plan to reach The Dark Tower quicker and do what needs to be done I don t know if King is planning to write another Dark Tower novel, but if he is he need look no further than Pelham Grenville for inspiration.
As well as being one of the best prose stylists in the English language, what really sets Wodehouse apart in these novels is the way he sets plate after plate spinning and keeps them all going long after they should have shattered to the ground Here we have Bertie pretending to be Gussie Fink Nottle, Gussie pretending to be Bertie, Catsmeat Pirbright pretending to be faux Gussie s valet, a terrifying butler in the shape of Jeeves s uncle, a Hollywood goddess working her charms on an English village, an atheist policeman, a legion of aunts and the constant fear of the arrival of Bertie s Aunt Agatha and or Madeline Bassett The whole thing is a joy from start to finish, with confusion piled riotously onto calamity and jokes than most writers manage to cram into an entire career Until it reaches a point where you know there s only one man who can shimmer unobtrusively forward and sort everything out.
I particularly liked the categorization of the six different types of hangover the Broken Compass, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer and the Gremlin Boogie Which of us, after a particularly rambunctious wedding reception, hasn t woken up with a case of the gremlin boogies At Deverill Hall, An Idyllic Tudor Manor In The Picture Perfect Village Of King S Deverill, Impostors Are In The Air The Prime Example Is Man About Town Bertie Wooster, Doing A Good Turn To Gussie Fink Nottle By Impersonating Him While He Enjoys Fourteen Days Away From Society After Being Caught Taking An Unscheduled Dip In The Fountains Of Trafalgar Square Bertie Is Of Course One Of Nature S Gentlemen, But The Stakes Are High If All Is Revealed, There S A Danger That Gussie S Simpering Fianc E Madeline May Turn Her Wide Eyes On Bertie Instead It S A Brilliant Plan Until Gussie Himself Turns Up, Imitating Bertram Wooster After That, Only The Massive Brain Of Jeeves Himself In Disguise Can Set Things Right I d read the collected Jeeves and Wooster short stories a few years ago, and this is the first of their novels I ve read Very funny, very light, many excellent lines, like when Wodehouse describes someone as, a tall, drooping man, looking as if he had been stuffed in a hurry by an incompetent taxidermist Two other examples He looked like a peevish halibut I am told by those who know that there are six varieties of hangover the Broken Compass, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer and the Gremlin Boogie, and his manner suggested that he had got them all.
One of Wodehouse s very best The village concert scene in particular is deeply cathartic for anyone who s been roped into that kind of event