Friday, December 20, 2013

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse by Sebastian Faulks

The family of P.G. Wodehouse hopes to bring the world of Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves to a younger generation. Whether that effort will succeed, I do not know, but I (being of a certain age) liked the new estate-approved novel Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks. The new author for the series mixed all of the traditional Wodehouse elements very well. As a reader might expect, Bertie agrees to help one his pals from the Drones Club obtain permission from an aged guardian to marry the girl of his dreams. Of course, Bertie's efforts hinder more than help and Jeeves is there to save the day.

In his introduction to Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, Faulks pledges to keep to the spirit of Wodehouse without resorting to parody, plagiarism, or predictability. One difference from the original series that I noticed is that Bertie actually has a few serious thoughts, such as when he appreciates the beauty of the English countryside which could have been lost if Britain had lost the war (that war being World War I.) If I remember correctly, Wodehouse always kept Bertie carefree and unaware of current events. Wodehouse never revealed a year. Faulks in a very subtle way has introduced a bit of identifiable historical detail.

That said, don't worry that Bertie will become serious or scholarly. He is still the model for all lovable upper class twits and is ever dependent of Jeeves, even in their reversal of roles included in Jeeves and the Wedding Bells. Experienced readers are in for some surprises, which I will not reveal. Read it soon.

Faulks, Sebastian. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse. St. Martin's Press, 2013. 243p. ISBN 9781250047595.

No comments: