Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Book Excerpts: Meet Mr. Mulliner by PG Wodehouse


If you are yet to read a Wodehouse, there is no particular book to get started on, it could be any of the several he wrote. For a PG Wodehouse book is meant for the laughs, laced with an apt treasure house of vocabulary, impeccable English, historical references, ice thin plot and a stage full of eccentric British and (sometimes) American characters. As Wodehouse himself said, "I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down into life and not caring a damn."

It's been a decade since I read these sugar-baked eternal sunshine stories of honeyed romances, dim-witted young men, their intelligent butlers, pigs, awe-struck pig owners, misplaced tonic bottles and crossword puzzle solvers. I seem to have lost patience for the novels - stretched and repeated as their obscure plots go (despite the sparkling never-failing humour), but a well-written Wodehouse short story is another thing altogether.

Here is an extract of a tale from my favourite Wodehouse short story trilogy, one that features a certain Mr. Mulliner, Anglers' Rest bar-parlour regular, and a teller of seemingly tall 'truthful' tales about other denizens of the Mulliner family. Mulliner's bar narratives have been collected in three books - Meet Mr Mulliner (1927), Mr Mulliner Speaking (1929) and Mulliner Nights (1933).

The following lines are from The Romance of a Bulb-Squeezer (Meet Mr. Mulliner):      

Statistics show that the two classes of the community which least often marry are milkmen and fashionable photographers - milkmen because they see women too early in the morning, and fashionable photographers because their days are spent in an atmosphere of feminine loveliness so monotonous that they become surfeited and morose.   



(Article by Snehith Kumbla)

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