Review- Wodehouse, “Pigs Have Wings”

P.G. Wodehouse, “Pigs Have Wings” (1952) – What to say about P.G. Wodehouse that hasn’t already been said? His books are more-or-less pure wholesome fun. Everyone at the time liked and respected him with very few exceptions and people who read him now have the same feelings. He had a more-or-less blameless, happy life except for letting the Nazis bully him into doing self-effacing radio vignettes when they had him captured, and he never complained about the Brits being mad at him for it. Everyone in humor writing imitates him but nobody duplicated him. Even people like me inclined to dislike the British upper-crust milieu he illustrates find little fault with him, if nothing else because his characters are so ludicrous and awful (but always in a funny way). By the 1950s when this, the seventh book set at rural Blandings Castle, was published, he had been going for forty years and would go for another twenty. His later work, in my opinion, doesn’t have quite the zip or beauty of construction that characterized his mid-career stride from the twenties to the forties, but it’s still amusing and worth reading. This one is no exception- he had nailed the formula well before then. It’s the twenties, there’s a bunch of twenties-types — befuddled aristocrats, star-struck lovers, gadabouts, vicious aunts, servants of varying degrees of capability and trustworthiness — all bouncing off each other in a plot centered around two prize-winning pigs and four young people who need to be properly paired off. Everything comes together with only a few audible creaks in the machinery, and you’ve got Wodehouse set out to give- finely-crafted literary entertainment in a light vein. ****

Review- Wodehouse, “Pigs Have Wings”

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