I sometimes wonder which author is the best to read in a particular genre. Though there are many authors in fantasy genre, no one feels quite as good as Rowling and Harry Potter. For thrillers, I seek a Lee Child more often than not, because it’s the unruly Jack Reacher that makes thrill feel alive. For humor, there is only one author that comes to mind, and that’s P. G. Wodehouse. The character… why, Jeeves of course!
I’ve read a couple of Wodehouse books earlier, but I don’t quite remember which. So to read this book was joyous. These are short stories featuring the inimitable butler, and each story is comical. Well, almost. The stories go from when Jeeves first came into the employment of Bertie, to characters that need saving, or even as demonstrated in the opening short story, Bertie himself needed saving.
What makes Jeeves so funny? I can’t quite place my finger on that. Maybe it’s the quiet confidence in what he does, the rummy-ness to his remarks (as Bertie puts it) and the dialogues, oh yes, the dialogues. He’s that perfect English butler to boot. Reading from Bertie’s point of view, sometimes, you even love to hate him. But you can’t really hate him either. And this brings another point into focus. Narration… and how used to a particular narration we can become. And how odd it seems when that is not there anymore.
The last story in the book sees Wodehouse attempting to narrate from the point of view of Jeeves, rather than Bertie. And it works in one way, and doesn’t in another. Whereas it brings about a refreshing change in the narration, it also shows humor doesn’t always work in first person. It doesn’t feel as humorous when Jeeves tells the story. It does have humor, but not as much as when Bertie does it.
A collection of short humorous stories that bring to us, the comedies of an employee who’s not afraid to, and mostly does what he feels is right for his employer. It is enjoyable to the most part, and Jeeves will become a character who will be evergreen in literature I feel.
IN A GIST:
Positives: Humor, likeable characters and light reading
Negatives: The narration from Jeeves’ point of view didn’t work very well.
Title: Carry On, Jeeves
Author: P. G. Wodehouse
Publishers: Arrow Books
Price: INR. 299
(22nd Nov, 2013)