Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Golf, Wodehouse style

The Clicking of Cuthbert, P.G. Wodehouse

As I've mentioned before, it was Psmith who converted me completely to P.G. Wodehouse.  When I started looking for PGW's books, though, I passed over the ones labeled "Golf" in the lists, because I know little and care less about golf.  Besides, there were all those books listed under "Blandings" and then "Uncle Fred" to read.  A couple of months ago a friend assured me that the stories aren't really about golf, but they are prime PGW.  Then I came across something Anthony Lane of The New Yorker wrote in an article about his own addiction to Wodehouse:
"I have paid extra attention to Wodehouse's golfing stories (which I thought would be a closed book to non-golfers, whereas they are in fact open to anybody with a keen sense of the ridiculous; namely, non-golfers)."
I don't think it's a coincidence that copies of The Clicking of Cuthbert and The Heart of a Goof then showed up at Half Price Books.  I'm so glad that I obeyed the omens, because I wouldn't have missed The Clicking of Cuthbert for anything, even if I still can't tell a brassey from a niblick. The format reminds me of the Mulliner stories, with the Oldest Member sitting around the clubhouse primed with stories to fit any occasion.  Unlike Mr Mulliner, the Sage often takes an active part in the events that make up the stories.  In my favorite, "The Long Hole," he is one of the judges for a very unusual sixteen-mile, one-hole match.  This one gets my vote as the funniest Wodehouse story, which I'd previously given to "Portrait of a Disciplinarian" in Meet Mr Mulliner, which had in turn deposed "Tried in the Furnace," in Young Men in Spats.

The New Yorker book blog recently noted that Norton is publishing new editions of the Jeeves books, suggesting that summer is the perfect time to get lost in Wodehouse.

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Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!