Thursday, October 13, 2016

Full Moon - P G Wodehouse

If I mention two words - pigs & imposters - that's really all you need to know about Full Moon, one of the Blandings novels of P G Wodehouse. I love Wodehouse & I'm very grateful to Simon & Karen for choosing 1947 for the latest instalment of their Club as it meant I had a chance to read one of his funniest novels.

As usual, there are several romantic couples facing opposition from the formidable women of Lord Emsworth's family. His sister, Lady Hermione Wedge, has a beautiful but dim daughter, Veronica, who needs a rich husband. Lord Emsworth's son, Freddie, now a super salesman for his American father-in-law's dog biscuit business, is bringing his friend, supermarket millionaire, Tipton Plimsoll, down to Blandings in the hope of convincing him to stock Donaldson's Dog-Joy in his chain of supermarkets. Lady Hermione thinks Tipton would be perfect for Vee. Tipton falls madly in love at first sight but is misled by Lord Emsworth into thinking that Vee is in love with Freddie. Tipton is also unnerved by a doctor's diagnosis of the spots on his chest as a sign of alcoholic poisoning & warns him of hallucinations & other dire symptoms unless he stops drinking immediately. The fact that Tipton has started seeing a grotesque face appearing & disappearing at frequent intervals is enough to put him off the drink for life.

The face in question belongs to artist Bill Lister (known to Freddie, of course, as Blister) who has no idea that he has become the stuff of Tipton's nightmares. Bill is in love with Prudence Garland, daughter of Lord Emsworth's sister, Dora. Even though Bill has just inherited a pub which Prudence thinks could be very successful with a little work, her mother forbids her daughter to marry an artist & sends Prue down to Blandings Castle to be guarded by her Aunt Hermione. Bill's godfather happens to be Lord Emsworth's brother, the Hon Galahad Threepwood. Gally decides that Bill should follow Prue to Blandings disguised as a gardener & wearing a false beard that makes him look like an Assyrian king. This bid fails miserably when Bill mistakes Lady Hermione for the cook & tries to bribe her with half a crown to take a letter to Prue, but Gally's next idea is even better. He introduces Bill (without the beard) to his brother as Edwin Landseer, the perfect man to paint a portrait of the Empress of Blandings, Lord Emsworth's prize-winning pig. Complications ensue as you might imagine.

It's all quite mad but a lot of fun. It was even more fun as I listened to the audio book of Full Moon read by Jeremy Sinden, which was wonderful. Jeremy Sinden is one of my favourite narrators of Wodehouse & I'm sure he narrated quite a few titles but there are only a few available on Audible. It amazes me that the plot components of all the Blandings novels consist of a selection of the following - imposters, thwarted love, the threat of the Empress being stolen or not eating, terrifying aunts, Gally's schemes & Lord Emsworth's dottiness - but they are all so funny. Wodehouse's wordplay is sublime & his way with names can be compared with Dickens.  My favourite in this book was E Jimpson Murgatroyd, Tipton's doctor. No matter how complicated the plot becomes, all will come right in the end.

14 comments:

  1. I love P.G. Wodehouse, as you say, his books are mad and fun. I think listening to this book could be very entertaining.

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    1. There are several narrators who do a great job with PGW - Sinden, Ian Carmichael & Jonathan Cecil - you can't go wrong with any of them.

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  2. P.G.W. is just wonderful... i've read this book many times and it never fails to produce a giggle... "Donaldson's Dog Joy", heeheehee...

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    1. The names of the other dog foods are just as ridiculous, aren't they? I don't know how JS read some passages without laughing.

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  3. Wodehouse is my husband's favorite author and as he reads his books and rereads, he always retells the stories to me.

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    1. Isn't it odd that it doesn't matter that the plots have the same components - pigs, young lovers, imposters, rampaging aunts - the books are always enjoyable. I probably couldn't read too many in a row but I still have many unread Wodehouses & I like to read 2 or 3 a year.

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  4. Ah yes, nothing like a dose of Plum to cheer you up.

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  5. I haven't read a Wodehouse for ages and you're making me want to go and do it immediately... I don't have this one, but I do have plenty HIU.

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    1. The 1947 Club was the perfect excuse for me so thank you, Simon, for coming up with the idea.

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  6. I love Wodehouse. He's one of the few authors who can make me snort and giggle while I'm reading.

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    1. You're right. I had quite a few giggles while listening to this one.

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