P.G. Wodehouse


A Prefectís Uncle


After defending his first novel, The Pothunters, against accusations of being too caught up in the minutiae of public school life, I have to concede in this, his second. Where was the editor? Ball by ball accounts of cricket matches can be hard going in real time, but in fictional accounts itís extremely difficult to care. Particularly about such thin characters that appear and disappear so randomly. It holds some interest as a study in the typical concerns and at times obscure social rules of Ďgood formí in a British public school in the early twentieth century, but this is hardly why I read Wodehouse. I donít suppose I read him particularly for plot either, but this one is just too much of a mess. The uncle of the title, for example, is central and then inexplicably forgotten. Perhaps the market was for ex or current pupils that could empathise with the situations without needing to particularly engage with the characters.


This is still Wodehouse, and his characters and descriptions often display his (fabulous) characteristic wit. But his love of cricket and rugby here goes beyond charm and into tedium. Later golf books, for example, get the mix right. As I work my way through the unavoidably hit and miss vast canon I hope it isnít too long before Iím back to hits.


August 2006