By P.G. Wodehouse
Piccadilly Jim is one of the early Wodehouses; and also a very fine title. That the book failed to grab me this re-reading has everything to do with being tired out with flu, rather overwrought with family matters and shaken by being within two weeks of losing my job, and not with the excellent work of Plum.
The young American newspaper hack Jimmy Crocker has moved to England with his father and socially ambitious stepmother (nicely modelled on some real woman who moved to London to conquer Society after failing to do so in New York; I’ve only forgotten who she was.) Jimmy makes rather a spectacle of himself in the London night-life.
So much so that his stepmother’s sister goes to England to fetch the boy back, so he can be kept quiet and out of the news. Her husband’s niece, Ann, had been at the receiving end of a practical joke by Jimmy, and never wants to see him again.
The thing is, at the end Ann and Jimmy get married. There is one problem with this story; the Jimmy as he’s painted wouldn’t ever have been that cruel to Ann. And the Ann as painted would never have stooped to marry Jimmy just because he’s nice and adventurous.
Anyway, read it for yourself. Go buy a paper copy, or download the book from Project Gutenberg.
Multatuli, Max Havelaar,
John M. Ford, The Dragon Waiting,
Dimitri Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth,
E.R. Eddison, A Fish Dinner in Memison,
P.C Hooft, Warenar,
E.R. Eddison, Mistress of Mistresses,
Hope Mirrlees, Lud in the Mist,
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog).
Just added: Nothing.
Just discarded: Nothing yet, but I’m very close to dropping John Ford’s The Dragon Waiting. I dislike his prose, and I don’t believe his alternate history.