Freddie is engaged to marry the daughter of a wealthy American who is a passionate collector of ancient Egyptian relics. When one treasure goes missing and a thousand-pound reward is offered for its return, Blandings becomes a madhouse as friends turn rivals in the scramble to retrieve the object.
(P)1995 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Wodehouse is the greatest comic writer ever." (Douglas Adams)
"For Wodehouse there has been no fall of Man...the gardens of Blandings Castle are the original gardens of Eden from which we are all exiled." (Evelyn Waugh)
This is the first book about the now legendary Blandings Castle, and introduces such characters as Lord Emsworth, Hon Freddie Threepwood, The Efficient Baxter, and Beech the Butler.
It's not as mind-bogglingly complex as some of PG Wodehouse's plots but it has all the tongue-twisting rich language that he is known for. This more gentle love-story based plot is still witty and interesting, and includes some early women's lib ideas. This version includes an introduction written by Wodehouse, which includes some interesting titbits.
Frederick Davidson gives his usual excellent reading. His languid tones seem made for Wodehouse's words.
All in all, an excellent version of an excellent book.
This is is the first in the Blandings Saga and a great place to start (although not completely necessary to do in chronological order). The narration is good and the story that was published 100 years ago is both funny and cracking in pace. A most enjoyable listen.
"Not terrible - but not a must-have, either"
As a long-time Wodehouse fan, I've read many of his books, watched most episodes of Jeeves & Wooster, and listened to a whole lot of the radio dramas and audiobooks. And this particular audiobook isn't one of the best.
<i>Something Fresh</i> isn't a bad novel - though with less laugh-a-minute potential than some of the other Blandings-series stories - but Frederick Davidson's very affected vocal style isn't really suited to longer novels like this, with so many different characters. It's fine when he uses a very effete, almost effeminate voice for Bertie Wooster (who doesn't appear here), but he doesn't have a whole lot of range.
All the men under 30 sound like fruity idiots; all the women sound like airheads (quite literally); all the older men sound uniformly gruff; and the various American accents are neither accurate nor consistent.
More problematically - and again, I realize this is sometimes a matter of personal taste - Davidson seems to miss jokes all the time. Most of Wodehouse's hilarity lies in knowing just how to say a line like "Percy's always been a bit of a nut - I say, what?" for maximum effect, and Davidson doesn't seem to have the knack.
Overall, if you're thinking of an audio version of <i>Something Fresh</i>, I recommend going with the Jonathan Cecil version instead of this one - Cecil just seems better at interpreting Wodehouse on a consistent basis.
"Don't get this version...."
I bought this because I have only recently discovered Wodehouse's 'Blandings saga' and wanted to listen to them all. I can't tell much about the quality of the book itself because the audio version is so painful to listen to. You get to hear every gasp for breath, and Davidson doesn't seem to understand Wodehouse - or to be enjoying himself. I wish I had read the other reviewer's advice - instead of buying this version, look for another reader!
The story is slow to start with uninteresting dialogue. Quite unlike Wodehouse's usual fast, snappy starts. Also, regrettably, Davidson reads this slow start with a bored, disinterest that makes paying attention almost impossible. I love Wodehouse usually, but I'd return this one pronto if I could.
His reading has a disinterested, supercilious air that, coupled with a slow plot, makes the book a yawner.
Not really. I wish it had because I love Wodehouse usually.
"Wodehouse and Davidson a perfect match"
Such a pleasure to listen to, Wodehouse is the only writer I've found who's as funny as Mark Twain, and Frederick Davidson (aka David Case) is the best comic narrator ever. I was concerned after reading the first reviews complaining of the narrator but I don't share their views. I wish he had narrated all these books. 'The Inimitable Jeeves' is also a classic read by the same guy.
In the intro to the book, PG Wodehouse tells us that this was his first big sale. He and his wife felt quite comfortable with their savings of $175, then he sold this book to (IIRC) The Atlantic for the unbelievable fortune of over $3000! He goes on to help aspiring writers of serial novels by telling them some lessons he learned (be vague about dates and locations - if you're still writing 50 years later you don't want the characters to be centenarians who live too far away from London to come up for a day trip.)
The story concerns the residents of Blandings Castle, pre-Empress, with (as usual) imposters visiting in order to steal something. The Earl, though absent minded and none-too-bright, is not the anti-social idiot we've come to know and love. His sister Ann is serving as chatelaine, and unlike his other sisters, is of an extremely retiring nature, seldom leaving her room and her voluminous correspondence. Baxter is there, determined to get to the bottom of things, as well as assorted pairs of mismatched lovers.
It will surprise no one to learn that, as always, skulduggery and love triumph at Blandings.
"Not Wodehouse's best"
I'm a huge fan of the Jeeves and Wooster stories and novels. This novel had an excessive number of characters and wasn't as funny as what I'm used to. The narrator was okay. I found his accent too "plummy" at times, but he was better than the narrator on the other version of this book. He did well with the different voices, including American accents that sounded accurate (and, sadly, somewhat unpleasant) to my American ear.
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