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Posted January 27, 2010
If you stumbled on this and don't know the author (PG Wodehouse), please ignore this book and instead instantly order UNCLE FRED IN THE SPRINGTIME. If you like that, and you're apt to, you'll be happy for years because he lived long and wrote vastly.
This book shows Wodehouse evolving, sort of pre-Wodehouse Wodehouse. It's a collection of short stories that was first published in book form in 1917. That's very early for him. This is more for the Wodehouse collector or long time fan.
The impression given is that he, a young, not well known writer, was writing some of these for specific magazines. You know, where one tries to figure out what the fiction editor wants and then write something that might get you in the door?
So there are the two stories written from the point of view of a dog. There's a story that starts off with a cat narrating (you don't know it's a cat straight off. It develops.) Ahem, NOT typical Wodehouse.
And there's the story "AT GEISENHEIMER'S" that sounds as if it could have been written by Dorothy Parker. It's a sentimental story from the point of view of a taxi dancer in New York.
The book was far from painful to read and the ratings have been perhaps unfairly downgraded because they are relative ratings - compared to his later work. They are generally very well plotted out and decently written. But they are most interesting in terms of seeing someone's earlier stuff after you'd seen the hot stuff they did later on. More interesting in context.
This book, as all those in The Overlook Press series, is very nicely done. Hardback ("cloth") but a perfect size for reading (most hardbacks are too big - this is slightly smaller than a trade paperback). It printed in a decent-sized, mildly serif font. (If this review/note was likely to be read by more than three people, I'd research font.)
For the real Wodehouse folks out there, you may appreciate the irony here. This book was not printed in Britain or the U.S. The book was printed in Germany.
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