A Pelican at Blandings

A Pelican At BlandingsA Pelican At Blandings
by P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9780099514022
Publication Date: August 7, 2008
Pages: 249
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Arrow Books

Unwelcome guests are descending on Blandings Castle uaparticularly the overbearing Duke of Dunstable, who settles in the Garden Suite with no intention of leaving, and Lady Constance, Lord Emsworth's sister and a lady of firm disposition, who arrives unexpectedly from New York.

Skulduggery is also afoot involving the sale of a modern nude painting (mistaken by Lord Emsworth for a pig). It's enough to take the noble earl on the short journey to the end of his wits. Luckily Clarence's brother Galahad Threepwood, cheery survivor of the raffish Pelican Club, is on hand to set things right, restore sundered lovers and even solve all the mysteries.

Who doesn’t like Wodehouse?  It’s situational and narrative humor at its best.  But you really have to be in the mood for it, and even then, I’ll go so far as to say Wodehouse is best consumed in short story form.  It’s hard enough to sustain the humor for a novel length book at Wodehouse’s madcap pace, but it’s been harder to sustain the laughs.  After a few chapters a reader can become inured to the comedy, and start to feel a bit numb, especially when character development is necessarily thin-to-non-existent, and the plotting not much more complex than the characters.  This isn’t a criticism; humor succeeds where both are pushed to the background.

Short or long length though, Wodehouse is a genius.

4 thoughts on “A Pelican at Blandings”

  1. Very apt sum up of Wodehouse’s style.
    I really wish he was more “for all seasons” but I guess we take what we can get 🙂 I am liking the Blandings Castle stories more than Jeeves and Wooster though. Spreading the dumbness around to multiple characters helps alleviate the desire to throttle someone in the book.

    Are you reading these in order or was this just a one-off “because you felt like it”?

    1. It was sort of a one-off: I purchased this ages ago as a random “it’s Wodehouse!” find. But I also have What Ho!, the anthology that has a few of the other Blandings Castle shorts, as well as Summer Lightning and, I think, one other on the TBR. I didn’t realise when I started it that it was part of a series. I was just telling Elentarri that it didn’t really matter – would you agree, or did I miss something by not starting at the start?

      1. Gotcha and I understand 🙂

        Hmmm, that is a tough question. Mainly because you CAN read these as standalones and be perfectly fine. And as you noted, character depth is bible paper thin. I don’t feel like you are really missing anything important but on the other hand, knowing a bit of history of the characters (even if that history is just more of their crazy antics) helps make later books more fulfilling.
        That has been my experience with the blandings series anyway.

        Considering how you felt about this, I’d hesitate to whole heartedly recommend more Blandings. Maybe if you ever get in the mood again 😀

        1. Oh, I’ll definitely try Blandings again – as you say, I found it easier to enjoy over the Jeeves stories because the stupid is spread out. 🙂 But I do need to put a lot of space in between them. Next time I’ll try to start with an earlier one from my What Ho! collection.

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