March 9th 2019

Book Review: Jeeves and the King of Clubs

Jeeves and the King of Clubs

Jeeves and the King of Clubs (2018)

Ben Schott

For the P.G. Wodehouse fan the idea of bringing back such a beloved duo such as Jeeves and Wooster will either bring out delight or dread. Indeed, the words you find others using often reveals their framing of such endeavours; is this a tribute, homage, pastiche, an imitation…?

Whilst neither parody nor insult, let us start with the "most disagreeable, sir." Rather jarring were the voluminous and Miscellany-like footnotes that let you know that the many allusions and references are all checked, correct and contemporaneous. All too clever by half and would ironically be a negative trait if this was personified by a character within the novel itself. Bertie's uncharactestic knowledge of literature was also eyebrow-raising: whilst he should always have the mot juste within easy reach — especially for that perfect parliamentary insult — Schott's Wooster was just a bit too learned and bookish, ultimately lacking that blithe An Idiot Abroad element that makes him so affably charming.

Furthermore, Wodehouse's far-right Black Shorts group (who "seek to promote the British way of life, the British sense of fair play and the British love of Britishness") was foregrounded a little too much for my taste. One surely reaches for Wodehouse to escape contemporary political noise and nonsense, to be transported to that almost-timeless antebellum world which, of course, never really existed in the first place?

Saying that, the all-important vernacular is full of "snap and vim", the eponymous valet himself is superbly captured, and the plot has enough derring-do and high jinks to possibly assuage even the most ardent fan. The fantastic set pieces in both a Savile Row tailor and a ladies underwear store might be worth the price of admission alone.

To be sure, this is certainly ersatz Wodehouse, but should one acquire it? "Indeed, sir," intoned Jeeves.

You can subscribe to new posts via email or RSS.