Tuesday, February 27, 2007

P. G. Wodehouse – My Man Jeeves (Audio book)

Title: My Man Jeeves
Author: P. G. Wodehouse

Narrator: Mark Nelson

Publisher: www.librivox.org

First Published: 1919

Running time: 5 hours 12 min 51 sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 7/10

Containing drafts of stories later rewritten for other collections (including "Carry On, Jeeves"), "My Man Jeeves" offers a fascinating insight into the genesis of comic literature's most celebrated double-act. All the stories are set in
New York, four of them featuring Jeeves and Wooster themselves; the rest concerning Reggie Pepper. Plots involve the usual cast of amiable young clots, choleric millionaires, chorus-girls and vulpine aunts, but towering over them all is the inscrutable figure of Jeeves, manipulating the action from behind the scenes. Early or not, these stories are masterly examples of Wodehouse's art, turning the most ordinary incidents into golden farce.

I've never read any P. G. Wodehouse before, although I’ve seen a few episodes of Jeeves and Wooster on TV over the years and found them rather funny. I have to admit, I can't possibly picture anyone other than Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in the roles, and I kept hearing their voices in my head while I listened to the stories, which were bitingly funny – more-so than the TV series, despite it seeming to be quite faithful. This is a collection of short stories, rather than one, on-going escapade, although there are a few incidences of some little nugget from a previous story being briefly mentioned in another, later episode.

Only half the stories in the collection actually feature Bertie Wooster and his exceedingly clever valet, but instead feature Reggie Pepper (a character so dimwitted, yet kind-hearted, that he might as well be Bertie anyway and who, indeed, appears to have been some earlier prototype of Bertie). That being the case, I'm not sure I see the point in this collection being called My Man Jeeves, but the stories were still a lot of fun, so I didn't actually mind all that much.

The only slight problem I had with this recording was that the American narrator has quite a strong accent which doesn’t really work very well with something so quintessentially British, however, it hasn’t deterred me and I shall certainly be following more of the adventures of Jeeves and


Blogger sjmarky said...

This was a tough one. Librivox had only ONE P.G.Wodehouse title in the catalogue, and as a long-time PGW fan I thought I'd do my part and add some, despite my obvious Yank accent. You see, Wodehouse is still copyrighted in the UK, so the folks who can do him the most justice can't legally record his works. (BTW, you may be in a dicey situation by downloading my recording. You might just want to delete the references, since the LV recording also isn't public domain in the UK.) If you want a real Brit accent in your PGW audiobooks, you'll just have to pay for them.


4:30 am  

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