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The Clicking of Cuthbert

The Clicking Of Cuthbert Cover


Fiction.  Book pages are foxing. Photo shows example of the front pages where the issue is most evident.
Wodehouse, P.G.
The Clicking of Cuthbert
Not Dated (1924), Herbert Jenkins Limited

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Note: Herbert Warren Wind is a fan gifted golf writer P.G. Wodehouse’s life.

One Reader's Personal Review: Probably most famous for his Jeeves and Wooster books, P.G. Wodehouse was an avid golfer. 'The Clicking of Cuthbert' was the first of two books Wodehouse wrote about golf (the other being 'The Heart of a Goof'). It was originally published in the US as "Golf Without Tears" in 1924 - 2 years after the first UK publishing. It's also one of the first books by Wodehouse that I read, back in the days when I did play the game myself. However while I have, just like the Oldest Member, long since retired it's still a book I can pick up and enjoy.

Another Reader Review: The "Oldest Member" of a country club narrates ten comic tales to dispirited and frustrated younger golfers in order to boost their spirits, enhance their morals, and keep them from snapping their clubs in half. In typical Wodehouse style, most of the stories involve chasing skirts as well as replacing divots (although definitely not in that order of priority).

There are two principal scenarios: a player's love of golf either impresses or repels the girl of his dreams, or two players fall in love with the same woman and their performance on the course settles the dispute. Since these formulae have, of course, a very limited number of possible outcomes, it's best to savor the chapters singly, more to enjoy the humor and less to anticipate the endings, which are usually foreseeable. (My favorite story strays from the basic blueprint--sort of. A golfer with a mean temper relies on some randomly selected sayings of Marcus Aurelius in order to maintain his cool, impress his boss, earn a promotion--and keep his fiancee.)

How much one appreciates this volume will, not surprisingly, depend on whether one plays golf. Golf lovers are sure to enjoy these sketches, which are greatly enhanced by Wodehouse's trademark drollery and smart-aleck asides. Recuperating 18-hole addicts (I myself have been club-free for 23 years, 6 months, 10 days) will find themselves heading for a tavern to avoid relapse. Golf widows (and widowers) are likely to burn the volume before they get to page 20. And non-golfers--even readers who enjoy Wodehouse's other works--are certain to be baffled by passages such as this one: "The twelfth is a long, dog-leg hole, bogey five. Alexander plugged steadily round the bend, holing out in six, and Mitchell, whose second shot had landed him in some long grass, was obliged to use his niblick. He contrived, however, to halve the hole with a nicely-judged mashie-shot to the edge of the green."

If haven't read Wodehouse before, this volume isn't where you should start--especially if you don't play golf (I recommend "Joy in the Morning"). If, however, you have had to endure the passions of a golfer, this is probably one of the best gifts you can get him or her.

Rather than a straightforward novel, the book is a collection of ten short stories. With the exception of the tenth, each story is 'told' by the club's Oldest Member. There is a common theme throughout the stories the Oldest Member tells - how golf is vital to success in every aspect of life. The last story, however, is my favourite one in the book. It's a historical tale, telling of the coming of a strange new religion called Gowf to the country of Oom.

I think that this book would appeal more to the golfing community than to the uninitiated. There are certain terms and phrases specific to the game, which mightn't make much sense to a non-golfer and could possibly break the flow of the story a little. Furthermore, some of the terminology associated with the game has changed since the book was written. Clubs are referred to in the book as baffies, niblicks and mashies while, at the time Wodehouse wrote the book, the word bogey meant par. On the other hand, it's still a book written by P.G. Wodehouse - he does have a very distinctive style of writing and certainly appears to have a hugely loyal fanbase. If you've read other books by him and enjoyed them, odds are you'll enjoy this - regardless of your expertise on the golf course.


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