Jeeves and the Wedding Bells,
by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson, RRP $35):
I’m a big P G Wodehouse fan. I’ve been reading his novels and short stories on and off since high school, when friends of mine put me on to Jeeves and Wooster.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks is an effort to replicate that singular wit, and it almost gets there.
Wodehouse had such a light touch as a writer, combined with such a clever wit, that it would be almost impossible to replicate.
Bertie Wooster and his faithful man Jeeves find themselves changing places after Bertie meets a young woman in France that he rather takes a fancy to.
Unfortunately, the young lady is promised to another, whose family fortune is set to save her guardian from certain ruin.
Add in a stately home, another young couple asundered by love and the hint of an aunt, and you have all of the ingredients of a Wodehouse classic.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells is, however, not a Wodehouse classic.
It’s a clever copy at best, but the wit feels a little bit forced and I can’t help feeling that Bertie and Jeeves should have been left as they were: preserved with the memory of a great wit and clever writer.
Instead, it feels a little bit like a clone.
It’s close to the original but not, of course, quite up to scratch.