Monday, August 20, 2007

The Heart of a Goof by P. G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse's second collection of golf stories (after The Clicking of Cuthbert) was originally published in 1926, which puts it just a bit before Wodehouse's best period.

There are nine stories here (naturally!), all of which are golf stories narrated by the Oldest Member. The O.M. is not quite as wonderful a storyteller as Wodehouse's Mr. Mulliner, but he's close. The stories here are all also boy-girl love stories, in which true love wins out in the end through the judicious use of a mashie-niblick, or something like that.

I know nothing about golf, so I can't judge the details as described herein. But the stories are entertaining, and the golf details are mostly in support of the stories being told. (And I suspect that golfing terminology has moved forward from the 1920s, anyway, so even really avid golfers might be as unclear as I was about the difference between a mashie and a niblick.)

Wodehouse has done better than this -- Clicking of Cuthbert, as I recall, is a bit stronger. (And, from Wodehouse's introduction, I suspect Heart of a Goof was rushed out because Cuthbert was successful -- publishing was ever thus.) But he wrote pleasantly breezy and entertaining short stories for a good fifty years, and these are some of them -- they may not be his very best, but they're better than a whole lot of the alternatives. And I very much doubt a more purely entertaining writer ever turned his hand to love stories about golf.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think "rushed" make sense; TCoC had come out 4 years earlier, in 1922, and the stories in THoaG date from 1923 through 1926.

By the way, the Russian Wodehouse society site is invaluable for this sort of information.

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