Wake Up, Sir! (Hardcover)
Scribner, 9780743230049, 352pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2004
What kind of book has Jonathan Ames written this time? Well, think of Cervantes' Don Quixote, except that Wake Up, Sir! is not as good. But that's all right -- no book is as good as Don Quixote. You might also think of A Confederacy of Dunces, but there again Ames's book falls short. I think, though, we might be pushing this humility business too far.
So how else might we describe this brilliant, comedic, and literary novel? How about brilliant and comedic and literary, which we just used. One could also apply such adjectives as: exuberant, zany, and sexy. God forbid we should give you four adjectives in a row, but you know how it is: The Rule of Three Adjectives!
In fairness, I should say that the last adjective mentioned is somewhat misleading. But there is one rather long sex scene in the book, worthy of placement in Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis, so it's not entirely misleading.
I imagine that it's about time we gave you a plot summary, without giving too much away, which is never an easy task:
Alan Blair is a young, loony writer with numerous problems of the mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and physical variety. He's very good at problems. He's also quite skilled at getting into trouble. But luckily for Alan, he has a personal valet, a wondrously helpful fellow named Jeeves, who does his best to sort things out for his young master.
Our tale begins in Montclair, New Jersey, where Alan gets into a scrape with his uncle Irwin, a gun-toting member of the NRA. So Alan and Jeeves flee New Jersey and take refuge at a Hasidic enclave in Sharon Springs, New York. Unfortunately, more trouble ensues -- involving a woman! -- so Alan and Jeeves again take flight, this time landing at a famous artist colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. There Alan encounters a gorgeous femme fatale who is in possession of the most spectacular nose in the history of noses. Such a nose can only lead to a wild disaster for someone like Alan, and Jeeves tries to help him, but...