P.G. Wodehouse was a genius. And his stated admirers prove the point! Michael Dirda of the Washington Post loves him, and notes that George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling, A.E. Housman, M.R. James and Arthur Conan Doyle all thought Wodehouse was the bee's knees. W.H. Auden compared Wodehouse to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Eudora Welty stocked his works by her bedside, and Evelyn Waugh considered Wodehouse a "revered master." High praise indeed!
Wodehouse's Jeeves is a cultural icon. I can't count the number of butlers in various shows named Jeeves. And the website Ask Jeeves plays on the valet's crafty intelligence in saving Bertie Wooster's hide repeatedly. So, I was very excited to begin reading Wodehouse's Jeeves/Wooster series. The Inimitable Jeeves is my first direct encounter with Wodehouse's work.
The book is a collection of short, often madcap comedies that prove a couple of things - Bertie and his friends are idiots; Jeeves is brilliant. Schemes like pushing a boy off a bridge so that a friend (Bingo) can be seen by the boy's sister while in rescue mode; betting on children's egg races and the length of pastors' sermons; and wearing a fake beard to get into the good graces of a communist father and daughter - these are only the beginning. And the primary reason for Jeeves being hired by Wooster? His near-magical hangover remedy. The Inimitable Jeeves is loaded with such fun, sometimes bizarre stories. I highly recommend spending some time with Bertie, Jeeves, Bingo, Aunt Agnes, and the entire gang.