02 May 2020

A Life of Co-incidences

Indiscretions Of Archie
P.G. Wodehouse
Andrews UK, 2004
Originally published 1920
189 pages

Archie is my first Wodehouse character who is not Jeeves or Bertie Wooster or one of their pals. And poor Archie really, really needs a calm mess-fixer-upper like Jeeves. To be formal, the titular character is Archibald Moffam (pronounced "Moom"), another inimitable Wodehousian name.

Unlike Bertie Wooster, Archie is not wealthy, and after many business failures in England has gone to America to seek a new start. He falls in love and quickly marries a sweet girl, whose father turns out to be one of the richest men in New York. But his new father-in-law despises Archie.

 All of which sets the scene for the stories in this book, which is sometimes described as a book of short stories rather than a novel. The stories are in sequential order and all involve the same characters, so I think it can be considered either one.

The subtitle really ought to be: A Life of Co-incidences, for Archie ricochets from one crazy co-incidence to another like a ball in a Pachinko machine. In the early chapters, everything seems stacked against Archie, but as I read on things began to break his way -- still in extremely co-incidental ways. It was a diverting and fun read for the #1920Club over at Stuck in a Book.

P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse published at least 71 novels and 24 story collections, as well as plays, a poem, some non-fiction, and other miscellaneous books. So if you decide you like his style, you have plenty of good reading ahead of you!

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