Reader: Mark Nelson
Length: 5hr, 12 min
The set-ups for the humor (or should I say humour?) will also be familiar to sitcom fans. Wodehouse provides all the standard family-hour TV machinations: a “sure-fire plan” with obvious flaws goes horribly wrong, a vague conversation leads to mistaken understandings, a man sticks his foot in his mouth and his love becomes overly offended by it. Perhaps these tropes weren’t so played-out when Wodehouse wrote them, but Wodehouse’s ability to make them seem fresh and funny to modern jaded eyes (or ears) is a testament to his talent.
Much of the humor is derived from the protagonist Bertie Wooster’s use of what I assume is 1930’s slang. Other than Cole Porter lyrics, I’m not deeply familiar with the culture of the time, so I can’t say whether his use of this slang was intended to be funny because his lingo was slightly behind the times (current equivalent: “I am so jiggy with it”) or because Bertie was an upper-crust aristocrat using terms reserved for the more avant-garde members of society (“This gala is totally crunk”). Either way, his mode of speech is infectious, so I have to proclaim this book "delish."Rating: 8/10
The reader:Anglophiles may argue that Wodehouse should never be read by someone with an American accent, but listening to Mark Nelson's performance, I have to disagree. Nelson's voice captures Berty's aristocratic aloofness perfectly. I'd rather listen to someone portray the essence of a character in his tone rather than going outside his abilities to try an English accent. The voices of the other characters are equally good, with Gussie's nasal whine being a particular favorite. Funny books pose a particularly difficult challenge to readers, but Nelson displays excellent comic timing. The clarity of this recording ranks among the best at Librivox.