P.G. Wodehouse

 

Tales of St. Austin’s

 

Well I finally twigged that the reason I couldn’t find a unifying plot in these early school stories is that there isn’t one. Same setting, often the same characters, but separate fictional anecdotes. I suppose that wasn’t as clear to me in the preceding ‘Prefect’s Uncle’ because I didn’t notice the punchline in a few stories, such as the title one.

 

This collection makes it a bit clearer, and has some wonderful moments (such as the enchanting description of a Latin master getting an electric shock), but as I compulsively work through the Gutenberg Wodehouse chronologically I’m hoping he hits his straps soon. These stories probably would have delighted the contemporary public schoolboys they were written for, but their appeal doesn’t extend as far as many of his later stories. One for the trainspotters/fans like myself.

 

January 2007