Psmith in the City, P. G. Wodehouse – Book Review

Psmith City_Wodehouse

Author: P. G. Wodehouse

Cover illustratioin by Ionicus

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published in 1970 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published by A. & C. Black, in 1910)

Psmith in the City is a comedy about P. G. Wodehouse’s beloved character Psmith, a hilarious and witty Etonian with his love for all things debonnaire, and his friend Mike, a cricketer.

Psmith and Mike, two country boys, by the play of Fate, land up in the lumbering relay of work in a bank in the city of London. Mike’s good-intentioned but rash actions and Psmith’s light-hearted schemes jeopardize their carriers and wind them into brawls, uncomfortable social situations and office soups as per Mike or any regular person’s judgment; but Psmith takes it all with a carefree Noblesse-oblige attitude, wishing to make comrades out of them all including their bank’s reluctant manager, until they stop working for the bank. After all, Mike would rather be out playing cricket, and Psmith would rather partake in Les petits plaisirs de la vie.

P.G. Wodehouse with his witty style of writing hits the bull’s eye when it comes to giving words to one’s emotions, but of course he does it with a light-hearted flair. He shows how a be-all, end-all situation has a silver lining easily attained through equanimity and a little sense of humor. Wodehouse’s ludic writing entertains and, in a way, opens up a reader’s mind to insincerity of seemingly grave situations, and to living in the present.

To me this book was an absolute entertainment. It is not difficult to fall in love with Wodehouse’s unusual characters, especially Psmith, who through their reasons and actions reflect how life is nothing but a game of words and wits.

A must read for people looking for an amusing read.  Though the writer himself says that his style of writing novels is ‘making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether,’ but I, on the contrary, think that Wodehouse not only does not ignore real life, but shows it in a different light, surpassing the gravity of trivial things, floating high to get a bigger picture.

Happy Reading!

Shivani Ahuja

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