Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blandings Castle

Blandings Castle (aka Blandings Castle and Elsewhere)
by P.G. Wodehouse

Welcome to Blandings Castle, home of the well-intentioned but often distracted Lord Emsworth—and there are quite a few distractions at this stately country house. Head gardener Angus McAllister has resigned before the Shrewsbury Agricultural Show, when Emsworth needs him most; Lady Constance, Emsworth’s officious sister, has caged her daughter in the castle to keep her away from the persistent Beefy Bingham; and the Blandings pigman, Wellbeloved, has been sent to prison for drunken and disorderly conduct just days before Emsworth’s adored sow can win first prize at the 87th Annual Shropshire Show. Through P.G. Wodehouse’s expert wit, we witness Lord Emsworth trying to solve these predicaments and others, with the unexpected help (and hindrance) of a lively array of characters.

My Reaction:
It's Wodehouse, so it can't help being charming and entertaining.  However, judging it against other works by the author, I'd have to give this one a grade a few notches lower than "Best of".  Part of the blame may be due to the fact that I don't usually like short stories as much as novels.  A bigger problem is that the "Elsewhere" portion of the book takes place... well, elsewhere-- places other than Blandings Castle-- and tells the stories of different sets of characters.  The Hollywood tales, in particular, grew a bit dull (by comparison!) after the first couple.  Still, we found it entertaining.  I wouldn't recommend it as someone's first experience of P.G. Wodehouse, though.