Bertie Wooster (a young man about town) and his butler Jeeves (the very model of the modern manservant) - return in their first new novel in nearly forty years: Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks.
P.G. Wodehouse documented the lives of the inimitable Jeeves and Wooster for nearly sixty years, from their first appearance in 1915 ("Extricating Young Gussie") to his final completed novel (Aunts Aren't Gentlemen) in 1974. These two were the finest creations of a novelist widely proclaimed to be the finest comic English writer by critics and fans alike.
Now, forty years later, Bertie and Jeeves return in a hilarious affair of mix-ups and mishaps. With the approval of the Wodehouse estate, acclaimed novelist Sebastian Faulks brings these two back to life for their legion of fans. Bertie, nursing a bit of heartbreak over the recent engagement of one Georgina Meadowes to someone not named Wooster, agrees to "help" his old friend Peregrine "Woody" Beeching, whose own romance is foundering. That this means an outing to Dorset, away from an impending visit from Aunt Agatha, is merely an extra benefit.
Almost immediately, things go awry and the simple plan quickly becomes complicated. Jeeves ends up impersonating one Lord Etringham, while Bertie pretends to be Jeeves' manservant "Wilberforce," - and this all happens under the same roof as the now affianced Ms. Meadowes. From there the plot becomes even more hilarious and convoluted, in a brilliantly conceived, seamlessly written comic work worthy of the master himself.
The book is funny, but it’s not laugh-out-loud hilarious like the originals are. At best, one can finagle an occasional chuckle. I suspect Faulks was too constrained by the parameters of his construct to really let loose and launch something on his own. By worrying too much about conforming to style, he loses some (although not all) substance. Of course one can hardly blame Faulks for this. This experiment is probably a case of darned if you do and darned if you don’t. (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).
The heartwarming denouement, which reveals how the godlike Jeeves has manipulated the action from behind the scenes, humanizes Bertie and Jeeves as Wodehouse never did. In my humble opinion, Faulks has outdone Wodehouse.
Starred Review. Let word go forth, from Mayfair to Herald Square, from Piccadilly to Kansas City: Jeeves and Wooster are back and in fine fettle. After sampling this tasty bonbon, Wodehouse fans and new readers will want to go back to the original series.
Starred Review. Faulks has risen to the challenge splendidly with this 'homage' to Wodehouse. Jeeves and Wooster live again!
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