Publisher: Arrow Books
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A comedy of errors using ‘concatenation of circumstances’, Wodehouse’s Joy In The Morning amuses and bemuses us in each and every page. Paper has rarely been put to better use than for printing Wodehouse.
Bertie and Jeeves set out to balance the imbalanced once again; against their wishes and wants as usual. This time, a lot of love triangles, love squares and other polygons are involved. Bertie Wooster is coerced into visiting Steeple Bumpleigh, home of Aunt Agatha and her husband, Lord Worplesdon. He soon walks into a web of broken engagements, arson and delightfully horrible misunderstandings. And as luck has it with Bertie, he almost always becomes a victim of circumstances and seeks the profound and polished wisdom of Jeeves, his butler.
Wodehouse was the funniest novelist of the past century. The classic comedy of errors that filled his novels, along with a non-exhaustive and evergreen style of writing, made them one of the most light-hearted and comforting pieces of literature, forever to be cherished. You can pick up any Wodehouse book and be rewarded. Many are built on the same formula – hapless English minor aristocrat gets into and barely out of complicated and hilarious scrapes, sometimes with the help of a sagacious butler and sometimes not – but surprisingly, the formula keeps working.
The work in question is no different. The author has quite cleverly and subtly used, as Bertie says, ‘concatenation of circumstances’, to structure the novel. The characters deal with obtuse situations in a humorous facet, the outcomes being a laugh riot. All of the names in the book were hilarious and perfect: Steeple Bumpleigh, Boko Fiddleworth, Percy Lord Worplesdon. One of the best characters was Edwin, a ten-year-old boy scout who had a “kink in his psychology which made him such a menace to the society”. He is the centre of most of the roguery and misconceptions in the moulded as well as fabricated relationships of Nobby and Boko, and Stilton and Florence respectively.
The writing is clearly informed by great artists. Wooster is always incompletely or incorrectly citing great literature and poetry. Jeeves then fills in with the correct quote. This adds a high brow touch along with opening up opportunities for comedy, what with Wooster denigrating Shakespeare. The only disappointing thing about this book was the minimal character development. However, this is easily overlooked. The wit constantly shadows over it.
Overall, in the book, the key is the narration. Joy In The Morning is not completely dissimilar to the other books in the series. And that is because Wodehouse developed a winning formula and stuck with it. Though an average reader is accustomed to this style and can anticipate all the jokes, there is still room for laughter aplenty. It’s not only the obtuse, slap-stick characters, but rather the author’s wit that has you coming back for more of the same.