• Summer Lightning

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: John Wells
  • Length: 7 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (155 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

While Blandings Castle sleeps in the summer sun, the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, brother of the Earl of Emsworth, is busily engaged in writing his Reminiscences, and they look set to be as warm as the weather, if not warmer. For Galahad has led a thoroughly misspent life, and his acquaintances can all too easily recall their past follies in his company. Reputations are at stake and even the nobility and gentry are beginning to panic. And while various attempts are made to prevent his stories seeing the light of day, none are more curious than the sensational kidnapping of Lord Emsworth's prize-winning sow, the Empress of Blandings....

©2011 The Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate. All rights reserved. (P)2011 P.G. Wodehouse

What listeners say about Summer Lightning

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Delightful Book. A Stellar Performance.

I don't mean to repeat myself but I can't think of a better word--this is simply a delightful story, made even more delightful by the many-sided vocal talent of Mr. John Wells. From the rotundity of Beach to the ferret-face of Percy Pilbeam, everything is as vivid as if the listener was watching a movie. Better, in fact. A movie would have to cut out most of Wodehouse's narration, which is where most of the fun resides.

The volume under advisement contains, among other riches, a chorus girl posing as a million heiress, a stolen pig, a volume of memoirs that could lose Lady Constance Keeble all her friends, and one of the best drunk scenes in all of the Master's canon.

Like most of the Wodehouse in my collection, this is one I go back to again and again. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I suffer from some little-known form of dementia. But I enjoy listening to Wodehouse--especially when it's performed this flawlessly--over and over. He's one of the few humorists I know who can be funny without hurting anyone's feelings or slipping into bitterness or sarcasm. In the midst of the most violent, unhinged century on record, Pelham Grenville just went on writing funny stories. God bless him.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable Wodehouse, disappointing narrator

P.G. Wodehouse blends all the usual elements in "Summer Lightening", one of the "Blandings" novels. As expected, we find Clarence, the 9the Earl, his imperious sister Constance--daughter of 100 Earls--the eternally youthful Gallahad--the only distinguished member of the family--Beech, the butler, and an assortment of other characters who fill the slots in the standard Blandings formula: star-crossed lovers, impoverished suitors and the inevitable visitors to Blandings who find they must assume a disguise to secure entry into that favored realm. Wodehouse brings just enough fresh material to each installment in the series to keep it enjoyable, while trotting out enough of the old standby pieces to make one feel that one is safely on terra cognita.

The problem with this particular recording, in my opinion, is that John Wells lacks the remarkable talents of the other narrators one finds in the Audible library. Jonathan Cecil, Frederick Davidson and the absolutely pitch-perfect Nigel Lambert all manage to create distinct voices for each of the characters in these densely-populated works. John Wells' voice is pleasant enough in the general narration, but he does not create a unique voice for each of the characters--not even the main characters who occupy the majority of the book's focus.

It takes more than a sub-standard narrator to ruin Wodehouse, but I would recommend one of the recordings by the masters in lieu of this one.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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I Miss Jonathan Cecil!

Most of the Wodehouses I've listened to have been read by the excellent Jonathan Cecil. John Wells is barely tolerable. And when he's doing women's voices, downright intolerable. He's also often incomprehensible. Did this reading not have a director or a producer Or an engineer? Did no one notice he's turned Lord Emsworth into a woman? Jonathan Cecil makes his characters fun. For him, they're Scotch and soda. John Wells makes them weak tea.

2 people found this helpful

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Upper tier PGW. Most of narration good

Well balanced Blandings tale. Decent dose of all that you want in a Wodehouse work. Yes, narrator has some grating voices and in particular Lord Emsworth is excessively doddering (which might be appropriate but no one wants such a like able guy to appear so pitiful or wobbly). Some of his characterizations were excellent and the change in voices brings variety. Reminds me of how I feel when a band covers a Beatles song, the kneejerk reaction is revulsion as it’s obviously impossible to improve on perfection but by the end I realize (usually) that it was still great to hear a Beatles song and I’m enriched by hearing something new.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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the voice!

Love the stories but the voices used for the characters are horribly grating, need another narrator!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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whose voice is difficult to understand

sometimes the narrator uses a voice to portray some of the characters which is difficult to understand.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best Blandings superbly read

Thoroughly enjoyable -Wodehouse at his best. A shame that John Wells read so few Wodehouse novels - he brings this one perfectly to the ear.

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One of PG Wodehouse’s best

No one else ever wrote this well. No jeeves or Wooster in this, but some great great stuff in here. Nicely read as well, although Lord Emsworth’s voice is perhaps a trifle reedy for this listener’s tastes. Heartily recommended.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Unpleasant voice acting

I couldn’t get past the first chapter, the character voices we so annoying and shrill.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A
  • 10-03-20

Poor narrator

Wodehouse is a hoot.

What a shame that this edition is completely ruined by the narrator. His straight reading is clear and pleasant to listen to but the voices he has chosen for the various characters are grating and unintelligible. Life is too short; I am marking this one DNF and moving on.