10 June, 2013

Mike at Wrykyn

Michael “Mike” Jackson is the youngest son of a renowned cricketing family.  Mike’s eldest brother Joe is a successful first-class player, while another brother, Bob, is at the top of his school’s team.  Mike has grown up to be a top-class player; not only does he have his brothers, with whom he can practise and train, but also his wealthy father hires a professional cricketer, Saunders, to coach him.  By his and his family’s eyes it is only natural that Mike attend Wrykyn—a leading public (i.e. private) school with a famous cricket team—the school wherein his father and brothers attended and helped bring success and fame for the cricket team.  When Mike finally arrives at Wrykyn his talent and love for the game brings him success and trouble in near equal quantity.
Mike at Wrykyn starts a fairly conventional school story which follows Mike and his adventures at school, but is ultimately a sporting story though it works well as either a good cricket story or a school adventure tale wherein the main character gets into various troubles and has to find a way out in time.  This book has superior English than most English texts published today.
As a novel, Mike at Wrykyn stands alone as a great book written extremely well; but it works even better as an appetizer for the main course, Mike and Psmith, the novel which introduces one of literature’s finest characters Psmith, and which marks the point when P.G. Wodehouse progressed from being a writer of excellent stories to being one of the best writers in English.

7.5 out of 10

P.G. Wodehouse, Mike at Wrykyn (London, 1953)

Mike at Wrykyn first appeared in the magazine The Captain as a the first story in a two-part serial titled “Jackson Junior”, and published as a novel, Mike, in 1909Jackson Junior” was republished separately as Mike at Wrykyn in 1953.  The second part of Jackson Junior”, originally titled “The Lost Lambs” in  The Captainwas released separately as Enter Psmith in 1935, and finally published as Mike and Psmith in 1953.