GALAHAD AT BLANDINGS by P.G. Wodehouse
â€śClarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, that vague and dreamy peer, was not one of Englandâ€™s keenest brains. The life he led made for slowness of the thinking processes. Except when he was attending sistersâ€™ weddings in America, he spent his time pottering about the gardens and messuages of Blandings Castle, his rural seat, his thoughts such as they were, concentrated on his prize sow, Empress of Blandings. When indoors you could generally find him in his study engrossed in a book of porcine interest, most frequently that monumental work ON THE CARE OF THE PIG by Augustus Whipple, of which he never wearied.â€ť
Reviewed by Mary Whipple (AUG 11, 2009)
In this ninth of his eleven Blandings Castle farces, P. G. Wodehouse brings a large cast of mostly repeating characters to Blandings Castle in Shropshire, where their adolescent behavior, their misplaced values, and their obliviousness to real issues in a real world, allow Wodehouse to create gentle but pointed satire of the British upperclass, of which he himself was also a member. Written in 1965, but set in 1929, this novel, like all Wodehouse writing, is timeless in its ability to capture the silly, the petty, and the laughable in complex and hilarious plots in which numerous misunderstandings occur because characters refuse to be honest with themselves and with each other. Wodehouse selects perfect, absurd details to describe these characters as they engage in perfectly outrageous actions, as he coaxes readers of all walks of life to laugh with those whom â€śsocietyâ€ť considers to be â€śupperâ€ť class.
Tipton Plimsoll, who begins the novel â€śsleeping it offâ€ť in the pokey in New York City after a riotous night on the town with fellow Englishman Wilfred Allsop, discovers that his wallet has been stolen during the night. Unable to pay his way out of jail, he calls Lord Emsworth, a future in-law, who is also in New York for the wedding of one of his nine sisters, telling him he has lost his money and needs to borrow a small sum. This is October, 1929, however, and Lord Emsworth and everyone else who hears this story, assumes that the well-heeled Tipton, engaged to marry Lord Emsworthâ€™s niece, is bankrupt as a result of the stock market crash.
While in New York, Tipton discovers that the slightly built Wilfred Allsop worships from afar Monica Simpson, the tall, athletic woman who takes care of the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworthâ€™s prized pig. Tipton determines to bring them together.
When all the characters have returned to Blandings Castle, Veronica Wedge, Tipton Plimsollâ€™s fiancĂ©e, is told by her mother Hermione to break off the engagement to her now â€śpennilessâ€ť suitor. Veronica, described as having â€śabout as much brain as would fit comfortably into an aspirin bottle,â€ť someone whose aim in life was â€śto look as [much] like a chandelier as possible,â€ť follows her motherâ€™s orders.
Galahad Threepwood, Lord Emsworthâ€™s brother, an incorrigible meddler, also at Blandings Castle makes it his mission to prevent her â€śDear Johnâ€ť letter from being delivered. He has also determined to reunite Sandy Callender, Lord Emsworthâ€™s â€śsecretary,â€ť with her former fiance Samuel Galahad Bagshott, who in pique has called her a â€śginger-haired fathead.â€ť Sam has also punched the local constable in the face and needs a place to hide, ending up, of course, at Blandings.
As one might expect in a farce, complications arise in even the most elementary plot lines, and Veronicaâ€™s â€śDear Johnâ€ť letter begins to take on a life of its own as it is passed from hand to hand. The Empress of Blandings becomes ill, alarming Lord Emsworth enough that he calls in the pig expert Augustus Whipple, who finds his life overlapping with another of the characters at Blandings and possibly affecting the outcome of one of the love stories. And as the various lovers try to â€śconquer all,â€ť Galahad remains front and center pulling the strings.
The action is fast and furious, with one complication following another. The humor is obvious and very visual, with silly characters behaving much the way they do in the early TV sitcoms or Marx Brothers movies. Wodehouseâ€™s sense of timing and his fine grasp of his characters keep readers fully amused in this delightful entertainment which allows Wodehouse to tweak upperclass pretensions and values.mode.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 8 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Overlook Hardcover (August 6, 2009)|
|AMAZON PAGE:||Galahad at Blandings|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Wikipedia page on P.G. Wodehouse|
|EXTRAS:||Wikipedia on Galahad Threepwood|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||More Wodehouse on MostlyFiction:
Work Shirts for Madmen by George Singleton
Rumpole Misbehaves by John Mortimer
Florence of Arabia by Christopher Buckley
Cheese by Willem Elsschot
Blandings Castle Saga:
- Something Fresh (1915)
- Leave it to Psmith (1923)
- Summer Lightening (1929)
- Heavy Weather (1933)
- Blandings Castle : Stories (1935)
- Uncle Fred in teh Springtime (1939)
- Full Moon (1947)
- Pigs Have Wings (1952)
- Service with a Smile (1961)
- Galahad at Blandings (First Release date)
- A Pelican at Blandings (1969)
- Sunset at Blandings (1977)
- Lord Emsworth and Others: Stories (1992)