Updated on February 2, 2018
P.G. Wodehouse’s Summer Lightning
I tried to take a break from writing. I couldn’t. So here I am, click-clacking at my keyboard in search of a story to tell.
So, why don’t I tell you something about the story I am reading right now? It’s Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse.
Intrigued by the pig on the cover? That’s Empress, the prized sow of Lord Elmsworth. The story takes place a long, long time ago, in and around a castle in Shropshire, with frequent jaunts to London, in a “rakish sports-model two-seater”.
It involves the stealing of the above-mentioned pig (pig-napping if you will), two young couples madly in love, a tell-all memoir, a double-crossing detective, a handful of lords and ladies with various afflictions, a deranged ex-secretary of questionable motive, and of course, the stoic-as-a-pillar butler. Anyone familiar with the Wodehouse franchise knows that he tends to put butlers in the thick of things. Ask Jeeves.
The story unfurls in a light vein. Nothing bad really happens. No one gets hurt. Unless you count a brawl at a dance club that culminates into Waiters United vs One-Hot-Headed-Young-Fellow fist fight. And what’s the worst thing that happens there? Well, the OHHYF gets hit with a dish of omelette aux champignons.
You get the picture, right? This book and others of its genre are what I sometimes need to get far, far away from all that is happening around us. These days we all know the headlines too well. News travel faster than ever. And we inhale it all in via our phone screens.
Now more than ever, I need to read about a time when a chorus girl could disguise herself as an American heiress and without the presence of Facebook and Google, none would be the wiser. Simpler times. Oh, well.
As Wodehouse himself said “The object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles.”