- File Size: 419 KB
- Print Length: 167 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615803261
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: March 30, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004UJU41M
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#14,466 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
- #5683 in Literature & Fiction (Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$5.55|
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Mike and Psmith Kindle Edition
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
"Wodehouse is the greatest comic writer ever." --Douglas Adams --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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This is a very light, and light hearted story. Nothing more is at stake than school loyalty and the demands of friendship. The school masters are faintly distant comedic figures and reality is whatever has the interest of the students.
Mike and PSmith begin the book as strangers to each other and to their new school. Each has been taken from their old school as near academic failures and form a friendship based mostly on not knowing anyone else. Mike is somewhat of an average guy if an exceptional cricket player. Psmith comes across as pretentious and possibly effete, however he has the quicker wit and seems to have many hidden qualities. Between them they will use force and Psmith's fast talking to secure a safe place in the student pecking order and routinely play the adults for fools.
For those of us who relate to Wodehouse mainly via the Bertie and Jeeves books, Psmith comes across as Jeeves clever but clearly destined for a Bertie Wooster lifestyle. In Psmith Wodehouse has created a character rich in contradictions and therefore rich in comedic potential. In Mike and Psmith we are not aware that there will be at least four more Psmith books. It is clear that this character can sustain more stories.
For me the humor in Mike in Psmith was rarely above the quiet smile level. It was a nice enough story. There was not enough plot or plot twists to make this a long book and Wodehouse keep this pacing crisp and the wind up is not long in coming. This book may appeal to younger reader, although perhaps not one missing a background in cricket. I cannot recommend it as an introduction to Wodehouse, but for the reader with some sense of who Wodehouse will become and in particular if you have not yet read the Psmith books, I can recommend Mike and Psmith.
Especially in the climactic chapter, cricket plays a pivotal role in the plot. And though I could gather the gist of things, it would have been far more exciting if I'd been able to follow the play-by-play.
Someone should put out an annotated edition that explains what all the cricket stuff means.
Top international reviews
What ho! ‘Mike & Psmith’ (1909) is something of a pleasant surprise, it being a wonderfully early, ebullient entry from the master of comic prose. Telling the misadventures of its two titular heroes as they arrive in disgrace to study at new school Sedleigh (something of a climbdown after the respective grandeur of Wrykyn and Eton!), ‘Mike and Smith’ is brimming with wit and entertainment. Having found the rather straight-faced ‘Psmith in The City’ (1910) mildly diverting but not in the same calibre as the best PGW works, ‘Mike & Psmith’ trampled all over my modest expectations. Indeed, more fanatical Wodehouse scholars (I am a huge fan, but no fanatic) will be able to point out countless characters and scenes that foreshadow the masterpieces ahead and would surely identify this as being a very important work in the canon.
The plot of M&P is wafer thin. Both Mike and Psmith arrive at Sedleigh with a somewhat contemptuous attitude, the former owing to his failure to have captained Wrykyn’s cricket team in the upcoming season, and the latter owing to his natural maverick tendencies. United by a mutual sense of injustice (fathers can be so beastly when faced with unflattering school reports!), the two new boys quickly fall foul of peers and house-masters alike. Mike becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue involving a midnight escape (all in a good cause) and investigations to unmask the painter of Mr Downing’s white dog, Sammy. Cue rogue fire alarms, moonlit chases (“Oi! Come ‘ere!”), falsified evidence and authority figures on the rampage. Clearly, a young Plum was finding his form here.
With such a paucity of plot, ‘Mike and Psmith’ relies on a number of wonderful set-pieces. Arguably the best occurs near the novel’s opening, when our two kindred spirits meet and purloin a prime study from the hapless Sedleighan, Spiller, whose arrival is moments too late for him to secure his anticipated prize. Thus begins a battle of wits and brawn that sees Psmith ingratiate himself with housemaster Outwood whilst making sworn enemies of Spiller and his cronies. The episode culminates in a failed nocturnal attack upon Mike and Psmith that reads like a scene from Hastings in 1066.
However, this being such an early Wodehouse entry, occasionally the reader is reminded that the wonderful absurdities of later stories (“Rannygazoo, anyone?”) are lacking. The sub-plot around Mike’s supressed cricketing skills is narrated in a rather poker-faced manner and the story’s climatic cricket match reads like a factual newspaper report. Likewise, the actual revelation as to who painted Sammy lacks any real wallop.
Nevertheless, given its age and feather-light content, ‘Mike & Psmith’ is something of a hidden gem that deserves a higher profile that it has. Whilst school stories (regardless of the author) tend to be overlooked as frivolous, here is a volume that sees its writer graduate with flying colours.
Barty’s Score: 8/10
Mike and Psmith meet at a minor public school where they've been sent after failing to shine academically at major public schools (Psmith is ex-Eton). Mike seems a typical middle-class boy who plays cricket and life with a straight bat whilst Psmith is just very strange but compelling, so they make a good pairing, who are going to come through regardless.
They have the usual scrapes with fellow pupils and fights in the dorm and run-ins with comic school masters--there's some dog painting and quite a lot of cricket. Psmith, who is as urbane as he is immaculate in all things--as well as being a Socialist (perhaps that's why he has had to leave Eton-a rebel like the poet Shelley before him) wafts through these minor adventures with poise and elegance, but ever ready to deploy his considerable tactical nouse to out-wit all and sundry for the benefit of everyone, but mostly himself (and Mike, of course).
Mike and Psmith turned out to be ideal holiday companions for me--easy to be with and undemanding. But I can imagine other readers might find the whole thing very dated and not worth bothering with or think it a Wodehousian blip. For myself, I think Psmith is an interesting character and he gets a chance to really shine in 'Leave it to Psmith' when he side-steps faultlessly into the world of Blandings to make his mark.
As a final thought I'm not sure who the lady is in the red dress on the cover! Matron? Psmith in his down-time? Curious, but all the other Psmith and Mike books in this series are so adorned as if they are high romances. One for Rosie M. Banks, I think.
Not only did my father in law love it but having picked it up to reread after he had finished with it, I will be ordering the other Mike Jackson and Psmith books.