Sam Leith

Greecing the Plot

Skios

By

Faber & Faber 278pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

One of the things that has always fascinated me about P G Wodehouse is what he claimed to find difficult. You might have imagined that it was polishing his sentences that took the time and effort – those wonderfully unexpected similes, the back-and-forth of the dialogue, the comic timing in the prose rhythms. Not a bit of it. That stuff he cranked out by the yard: it was the plots that he agonised over. Who remembers a P G Wodehouse novel for its plot? But there’d be no novel without one – and, crucially, the struggle is nowhere on the page. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,
    • What did Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Edmund Burke all have in common? Clare Bucknell reveal… ,