Troy Patterson
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Wake Up, Sir

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jonathan Ames
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

”We all have cultural blank spots,” says Alan Blair, hero of Jonathan Ames’ terminally droll slip of loser lit, ”so some people might not know that P.G. Wodehouse, the premier British comedic writer of the twentieth century, wrote a celebrated series of novels about a young, wealthy idiot named Bertie Wooster and his wildly competent and brainy valet named Jeeves! I repeat: a valet named Jeeves!” Alan — a down-at-the-heels dandy and capable lush — repeats himself, for he too has a valet named Jeeves, who seems to exist on a plane of reality between an oenophilic hallucination and Snuffleupagus. Wake Up, Sir‘s pair head to a writers’ colony, survive a few funny binges, and weather Alan’s discovery of his nose fetish, but their antics amount to secondhand cleverness, dandruff on the shoulders of giants.

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