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Publisher's Summary

Here are a dozen stories to delight all Wodehouse addicts....

A crooning tenor is attempting to captivate the affections of the Rev. Rupert Bingham’s fiancée; Lord Emsworth is striving to remove a pumpkin-shaped blot on the family escutcheon; the Hon. Freddie Threepwood is making a last-ditch attempt to convert Lady Alcester to the beneficial quality of Donaldson’s Dog-Joy; and in the bar-parlor of the Anglers’ Rest, Mr. Mulliner fascinates everyone with the secret history of old Hollywood.

©2012 The Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate (P)2012 AudioGO

What listeners say about Blandings Castle

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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12 Great Stories...and 6 Back Stories

The thing about reading—or listening to—Wodehouse is that his characters live such long, complex lives. Bertie Wooster, for example, made his first appearance in 1919 and his last adventure was published in 1974, the year before Wodehouse’s death. Consequently, the happily married man in the novel you just finished reading may have a backstory you know nothing about. Beyond, of course, the arch allusions to his checkered career made by his wife, his relations or the narrator in the novel you just finished reading.

It all adds to the odd realism of Wodehouse. Keen observers like Evelyn Waugh asserted that the England Wodehouse writes about never really existed. Yet the appearance and reappearance of places and characters, the ability to see the same character from several other characters’ viewpoints, the interweaving of characters— for example, Bertie Wooster and Tipton Plimsol both belong to the Drones and therefor must have at least a nodding acquaintance—all contribute to this queer substantiality, making the England of P. G. Wodehouse, Utopian as it is, as solid as Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.

All of this is by way of explaining why Blandings Castle is such an enjoyable listen. You get the back story of how Freddie Threepwood met and married Niagara “Aggie” Donaldson. You finally understand what a character in one of the later Blandings Castle novels was talking about when he describes Lord Emsworth as being worried about his pumpkin (your natural reaction is to assume it’s a typo; he must have meant “pig”). You discover the surprising family connection between Lord Emsworth and his head gardener. And you get the full story, only alluded to in later books, of the chap from Nebraska.

Beyond these revelations that do so much to illuminate the rest of the Blandings Castle saga, you get “Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend”, probably one of the sweetest stories Wodehouse ever wrote; not saccharine sweet but rather revealing an unsuspected tenderness and solicitude on the part of the ninth earl.

So much for the first six stories in this collection. The other six are a delightful grab bag: one featuring Bobby Whickam, the rest the various nephews and connections of Mr. Mulliner who work in Hollywood. Bobby’s tale is pure Wodehouse lunacy and the last story, “The Castaways” is a writer’s-eye view of Hollywood that should not be missed—especially if you’re a writer.

James Saxon’s performance makes me wish he’d record more Wodehouse. His characters all live as individuals in your ear buds and his vocal range covers every Wodehousian nuance, from the sprightly and brainless to the dark and dubious.

23 people found this helpful

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P. G. Wodehouse almost never disappoints.

Wodehouse's Blandings stories are some of his best, and this performer does a fine job.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful reading

Another fantastic reading of P. G. Wodehouse's great stories. These aren't as famous as the Jeeves and Wooster but every bit as good in their own way.

2 people found this helpful

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Worst narrator

I WISH this had been done be Cecil. Saxon Is generally fine, as long as he has British male voices. But as soon as he has to narrate a woman, he gives her an obnoxious whiny tone, and a heavy lisp. He’s done this for every single woman in this collection. And God forbid the woman is an American, because Oh. My. GOD. All of the Americans have been incredibly obnoxious, Chicago Hollywood stereotype gangster movie accents, but using them on the women, while also doing the obnoxiously high-pitched whiny tone, makes it absolutely unbearable to listen to. Most of the stories are fine, as they do not have either female or Americans in them. Once I had about two hours left, two stories in a row used American characters, and the heavy, caricature, over the top, Chicago gangster accents just absolutely pushed it over the edge for me and I had to quit.

1 person found this helpful

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Anti-Semitic content

Insulting stereotypical Jewish characterizations / accents in movie studio scenes. Disrespectful & unnecessary. Quite pathetic.

1 person found this helpful

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many shorts, unequal quality

the blandings stories are fine, but only about half the book: the others, so-so ones.

1 person found this helpful

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A bridge too far

Due to Saxon’s interpretation of Lord Emsworth in particular, but also the other usual suspects, I just can’t connect the characters of this book with previous Blandings audiobooks. Lord E. was perhaps too doddering before but too brusk now to be the same loveable person.
Mr Saxon also lacks comic delivery. Speeding up the play helps only a little with the former problem. To appreciate the humor requires a listener mentally recreate the dialogue (which obviates the benefit of an audiobook). Audible could have chosen better.

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Short story collection

Collection of short stories mostly about Blandings Castle with the delightful Freddy Threepwood and Lord Emsworth. These are the best stories. The latter third of the book is a group called The Mulliners and they aren't up to the same humor level of Blandings. Great read overall though!

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Laugh out loud performance

I had thought that Jonathan Cecil was the only Wodehouse narrator who could have me in stitches, but James Saxon's interpretation and characterizations in this collection of Blandings and Mulliner stories is wonderful. I’m sorry he didn’t make more Wodehouse recordings, now that I’ve exhausted all of Cecil's work.

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I can’t give the story a fair review yet

I’m writing this not for the story but for the performance. I have barely started and I wish I could chuck it because the narrator is not doing well at all. Other narrators tend to have a relaxing but humorous execution of the story which I think Wodehouse stories demand. This one is full of awkward pauses, very overdone voices, and annoying bursts of speed. And it’s the only version I see on Audible. I might get the kindle version and quit on this, it’s such a train wreck so far.