Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glowing Review

Before reading this book, you must read:

1. Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog, Jerome K. Jerome
2. A generous helping of P.G. Wodehouse (especially his early novels and Jeeves novels)

It would also behoove you to:

1. Read some of Dorothy Sayers's Peter Wimsey mysteries
2. Have a familiarity with Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle
3. Read Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone

I mean, let's be honest, you ought to have done all that already, unless you're just some kind of shameless failure. [I'm sort of kidding because, actually, I haven't yet read The Moonstone, only Collins's The Woman in White. But I do believe a disregard of Wodehouse is a critical character flaw.]

So, have you done that? Good. Now you're ready to read a book that will make you scrunch up your shoulders and grin so wide that you feel you're attempting to squeeze out all your excess glee. It's To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. It's the closest thing to a modern writer writing like Wodehouse I've found, and I didn't think that was even possible. There are overbearing aunt types and a sappy Madeline Bassett type and a poetry-quoting, infatuated Bingo type and an absent-minded Oxford professor and a retired Colonel obsessed with fancy goldfish and imposters and imminently capable butlers. It's obviously a tribute to Jerome, so much so that Harris, George, J, and Montmorency have a cameo on the Thames, as does a tin of peaches (or is it pineapple?). And it's a mystery: What happened to the bishop's bird stump? But technically, it's science fiction. YES. Because it is about time travel.

And it's just the best thing you can imagine. It's so funny, and it's genuinely romantic, and it's set in Oxford, and it's really exciting, and the last line is excellent. Oh my goodness. I am positively in love with this book. I can't say any more about it, or I'll give it all away.

Many thanks to Jenny for the recommendation.

1 comment:

Jackamo said...

So why haven't you read Moonstone? It is a great read. Honestly...

I can't wait to read this book! I pass all of the pre-reqs except for the Three Men in a Boat. I must rectify this soon!