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Laughing Gas Hardcover – January 1, 2002
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A brilliantly funny writer--perhaps the most consistently funny the English language has yet produced. -- The Times (London)
The works of Wodehouse continue on their unique way, unmarked by the passage of time. -- Kingsley Amis
Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale....He has made a world for us to live in and delight in. -- Evelyn Waugh
From the Publisher
Fans of P.G. Wodehouse's comic genius are legion, and their devotion to his masterful command of the hilarity borders on obsession. The Overlook Press is pleased to feed their obsession by returning his funniest books to print: Heavy Weather, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, Mating Season, Laughing Gas, and more.
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In Laughing Gas, Reginald, third Earl of Havershot, and Hollywood's reigning child idol, Joey Cooley, switch bodies while under the influence of laughing gas during simultaneous dental procedures. Hilarity ensues, and I mean that quite literally. It really is a laugh-out-loud funny book.
The plot careens and swerves through lots of crazy coincidences, farcical situations, and unlikely encounters. But you don't keep reading to see what will happen next. The plot isn't the driving force with Wodehouse. Instead, what keeps the reader turning pages is the sheer joy of finding out what wonderful saying or hilarious conversation will come along next. The unexpected use of language is one of the charms of Laughing Gas. I opened the book at random just now and came across this little gem: "I didn't get his drift, and said so. He continued snowing." The book is full of little treasures like that.
Another thing I enjoyed about Laughing Gas is the lack of cynicism in the characters. A lot of comedy has a snarky side, which is fine with me for the most part, but the refreshing sincerity of Reggie Havershot and the rest of the fictional folk in Laughing Gas is a nice change of pace. Wodehouse really knows how to write a likeable everyman, even if that everyman might be a little slow on the uptake at times. Even the worst behaved characters probably won't get up to anything worse than "throwing soft-boiled eggs at the electric fan in the better class of restaurant." It's a fun story, and I'd recommend it to anyone who needs a good laugh.
Reggie Havershot, just recently named the third Earl of Havershot, is dispatched to Hollywood to locate his lush of a cousin and to prevent him from a malignant marriage. On the train there, Reggie meets and falls in love with the beautiful actress, April June, who seems just as eager to return his attention - he is an earl after all, even if he has the face of a gorilla. Reggie cannot understand why others do not view April June with the same eyes that he does, but when a toothache stalls his romance, his real troubles begin. For while under the gas in the dentist's chair, Reggie's soul is swapped with that of Joey Cooley, the spoiled child star of the moment. Imagine Reggie's disbelief when he awakens in the young tyke's body and discovers the demands of a child actor's life. Imagine his further chagrin when Joey Cooley, now installed in his body, seems to have no desire to switch places and has taken it upon himself to carry out some wish fulfillment fantasies now that he is a grown up. How can this matter be righted without both characters ruining the life of the other? In Wodehouse there is a way.
"Laughing Gas" is a delightful comic read that never stalls, but rushes headlong through various schemes and nefarious plots as Reggie comes to terms with his new life, learning just what a pill the true possessor of this young body is and just how much one can yearn for the simple things in life once they are denied him. This novel requires a great suspension of disbelief but it is freely given. Even with such a fanciful premise, readers will gladly accept a story that revolves around soul swaps. Anything is possible in Hollywood after all.
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The book I did receive was good some pencil marks.
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