I think P.G Wodehouse would have liked Sebastian Faulks’ new homage Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Hutchinson Books). It is light as puff pastry and just as crisp, a fitting addition to the Jeeves and Wooster oeuvre.
At first I was a little worried, but I was quickly reassured that two of the most excellent and popular comic literary creations ever were in safe hands. Faulks doesn’t copy Wodehouse so much as channel him, and, in the most surprisingly wonderful way, there are some changes.
Bertie Wooster is not stuck like a museum exhibit in the glossy aspic of the 1920s – well, he is, but he himself is different. He has learnt a bit, a very little – after all, this is Bertie Wooster – from his previous scrapes and adventures, which is refreshing and makes the character seem even more alive. His man Jeeves – valet, butler, general factotum: keeper – is still magisterially pulling strings in the background, weaving his opaque plots for the improvement and glory of the household, but seems to feel that his charge might be allowed some leeway in his own plotting (if not facial hair), that Bertie is a soupçon more grown up than he was. Not that this is saying much – if you are a Wodehouse acolyte, you know the clay with which Jeeves is working.
A very pleasing read, satisfying, familiar but with a twist, and an excellent introduction for those who haven’t yet discovered the wonders of Wodehouse.
Toodle pip, old chums!