Imperial Blandings by P.G.Wodehouse
Created: Mon Mar 22 18:18:03 2010 | Last modified: Mon Mar 22 18:18:03 2010
This is an omnibus edition containing three volumes of P.G.Wodehouse novels, namely "Full moon", "Pigs have wings" and "Service with a smile".
Wodehouse's characters are usually stereotypical Englishmen and the Blandings novels are no exceptions. The humour is in his usage of the English language as well as the farcical, soap-operaic situations that he weaves. It's hard to repress a chuckle when you read some of his descriptions of people's actions and words. But after a point, some of his phrases do seem a bit contrived and unnatural.
The stories aren't very original either. The plot lines are very similar and most of the characters make repeat appearances. Reading four or five of these novels, you can be sure to encounter very similar characters and situations (albeit with different plot twists or elements). For example, Lord Ickenham in Service with a smile could easily be replaced with the Hon. Galahad and you wouldn't have noticed any difference at all.
Except Clarence, the Earl of Emsworth and his brother the colourful Gally (Galahad) you find it hard to work up any sympathy for any character since the stereotypes are so accentuated. Wild, formidable aunts, lovestruck nephews and nieces, stately butlers, disagreeable baronets and nosy dukes: you get the lot. There are a lot of characters in each story, but at the end of the reading you only remember a few by name: Clarence, Gally, George Cyril Wellbeloved, the notable but disreputable pig-man and of course the prize winning pig - the apple of Lord Emsworth's eye - the Empress of Blandings.
Overall I'm not the biggest fan of P.G.Wodehouse, but his prose does have punch and his plots are well twisted. Sometimes he can twist them a little too much, but it's amazing how everything works out fine in the final few pages thanks to the exploits of Gally or Ickenham.
Light-hearted and easy reading. I highly recommend them for a few hours of chuckles.