Saturday 8 December 2007

58. Mulliner Nights

After the grimness of Mishima, I needed a little antidote in the form of Wodehouse. I made short work of Mulliner Nights, and basking as I am in the warmth of the conclusion of a funny book and the consumption of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, I've been fuzzily contemplating what I should read next.

I pulled down a Russian novel, for December seems like the right time of year to afflict myself with one (I use "afflict" in the most literarily positive way imaginable, I assure you). However, as I am also reading some Dickens, I'm not sure it's the right time. I may have to make another go at the seemingly unending row of birthday books I have - especially because my birthday is now several months gone.

Mulliner Nights, FYI, is a sweet parody of the Arabian Nights. The book's Scheherezade is one Mulliner who entertains his fellow drinkers at the Angler's Pub with tales of the hapless youth in his family. My two favourite tales feature a cat named Webster who functions initially as a sort of moral heavyweight and then, with his discovery of whisky, a physical heavyweight ass-kicking all the other cats in the neighbourhood.

I don't think I like these stories so much because I like cats so much - it's because (as I noted also in Something Fresh), Wodehouse, better than any other writer I've encountered, has pinpointed how cats can be overbearingly dignified and totally silly at the same time. Of course, he's also super-excellent at creating male characters who are most charmingly befuddled. And nobody can more effectively place a "Dash it!" in dialogue than P.G. Good times I tell ya.

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