I finished P.G. Wodehouse's "Uncle Fred in the Springtime," a fittingly silly title for a wonderfully silly book. By the end, Wodehouse had so many balls in the air, plot-wise, that even an author as ambidextrous as he couldn't hope to catch them all. So the wrap-up, while satisfying, was a little bit of a letdown.
Perhaps what I was feeling was the disappointment of reaching the end of the book, which meant the end of Wodehouse's fabulous over-the-top metaphors and delightfully zany characters, all of them rich Brits living in a rarefied world where a day's greatest anxiety might be whether an old pal will spot you "a tenner" and its greatest pleasure a mug of cold beer.
It occurred to me, after finishing the novel, that the PBS show "Downton Abbey" took place in the same milieu -- a rich country estate -- although maybe 10 or 20 years earlier than "Uncle Fred." Wodehouse doesn't make it clear at what time period his novel was set, but it was published in 1937. "Abbey" makes at least a stab at realism and consequently is filled with grim visages and sad occurrences. Wodehouse makes no such stab, dwelling exclusively in a fantasyland he peoples with his own absurd characters, and the saddest thing that happens is the temporary abduction of a prize pig. When guns go off they don't seem even to damage the wallpaper.