Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Uncle Dynamite by P.G. Wodehouse

Whenever I'm unsure of what to read next, whenever I look at the shelves packed with new books and can't find anything at all that appeals -- that's when I know it's time to go back to Wodehouse. It happened again last week, so I turned to the shelf and found Uncle Dynamite, another tale of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis, fifth Earl of Ickenham, possibly better known as "Uncle Fred."

He's one of Wodehouse's lesser-known series heroes, without the fame of Jeeves & Wooster, the renown of the Empress of Blandings, or even the admiring cult of Psmith. By the time you discover Uncle Fred, you're hooked hard on Wodehouse, and casting about for everything by him you can find.

Uncle Dynamite is a fine Wodehouse novel, complete with an impostor at a country house, various young lovers with engagements that should be broken for the good of everyone, unpleasantly loud older men, and collections of strange-looking items. It all comes together very well, and Uncle Fred is quite quotable throughout.

If you've read a number of Wodehouse novels, nothing in this one will surprise you. But it will delight you, which is more to the point.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uncle Fred appears in one short story and four novels, and all are delightful. Plum didn't bat 1.000 (perhaps I should say "bowl a maiden over") with any other recurring character. Partly that's because in the last, tired Blandings novels, Gally has taken Uncle Fred's place as the champion of young love and spreader of sweetness and light, allowing Uncle Fred's record to remian unblemished.

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