The "Yes Minister" comparisons are justified (and there is some brilliant, hilarious political and bureaucratic satire here), but at its heart, this is the story of a hen-pecked, slightly pompous, middle-aged scientist who finds himself caught up in what seems like an impossible project, and of how this project changes his life. In the process, he becomes an unlikely and rather loveable hero, discovers true love for himself, finds himself both a pawn and then a victim of political spin, leaves his brilliantly horrible wife, and learns to believe in the impossible. And he takes the listener with him in the process.
©2007 Paul Torday; (P)2007 Orion Publishing Group Ltd.
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This is a novel of unfulfilled promises. 'Salmon Fishing'wants to be a broken love story, a most wicked political satyre, a gentle introduction to Islamic misticism and so many more. In the end, of course, it happens to be none of these. Mr. Torday's writing skills are excellent and his knowledge about making politics, religious issues and fishing manoeuvres are extremely profound as well. But he is may be not very good at structuring a story and keeping a right tempo of it. I've lost interest in about the half of the novel, when it completely falled apart.
The idea of composing a story with interviews, diary entries, TV spots, reports and e-mails is quite original. I tried to read 'The Blind Assassin' what moves on the same rail: it didn't work for me. Neither does 'Salmon Fishing'. Why? Some fake interviews smell ink and sweat, the whole thing is full of very didactic passages and the diary entries... I am a long distance diary keeper myself and I assure you won't HANDWRITE a twentish pages long text after an exhausting day. You are happy with a few paragraphs for the most.
But it is sometimes very funny and moving. Not that funny and moving however to invite me to purchase further audiobooks by the author.
The narration is ten stars. I dare say the best production I ever listened with Audible. Congratulations!
The basic story is a good one, its just the characters are so predictable. It is very dull when all the characters are such cliches of themselves. The poor bumbling civil servant, the feisty career wife, the posh personal assistant, the rich sheik - if you hadn't read the book I am sure you could sum up the characters without much effort.
I didn't bother finishing this as it annoyed me so much.
I doubt it
Definitely, the narration was very good.
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
A charming and interesting exploration into issues of belief. Can the visionary sheikh realise his vision of introductory fly fishing for salmon into the wadis of the Yemen through the agency of business woman Harriet Chetwode-Talbot and the sceptical fisheries scientist Dr Alfred Jones? How does the attempt change these two characters? Why is the British government involved in this project?
I enjoyed listening to the audiobook and found the readers' voices carried the story forward in an engaging fashion. My only real quibble, which caused me to slash the rating, was what I felt was the unlikely medium of police case notes in the latter part of the book. How believable is it that people would reveal their deepest personal feelings, using exquisite lyrical language, to police investigators? But, that said, it's still a good story!
"Absorbing and entertaining"
I initially resisted this title because I tend to want to discover books by myself and avoid those that are hyped or that "everyone's reading". How wrong I was - this story is warm and engaging, and totally deserves the hype and the "everyone's reading" it status.
I enjoyed the fact that the main character Fred Jones wasn't your archetypal hero, more of a Mr Average who actually doesn't do anything extraordinary, but who is so likeable. The letters, emails, diary entries and reports that make up the narrative felt surprisingly inventive and absorbing. The comedy and satire of the surface reading are under-pinned by thought-provoking themes of loss, faith, and failure.
Lots to enjoy, and a recommended audiobook.
"Not bad for a quick humorous interlude"
I'm not really a novel person, or a satire person, but Torday manages to keep the thing going, just this side of fantasy. I'm never sure with satire whether we are meant to be laughing at everything, as that gives you the strange feeling of falling off a flat world - if you ridicule everything, you eventually lose your footing. The Sheik is a subject of ridicule isn't he? I mean he can't possibly be meant as a hero??? Peter Mandelson/Maxwell is beyond satire - in fact my impression is that parts of this are lifted direct from PM's autobiography 'The Third Man'.
I haven't got the words to review this book. It was just beautiful. I am left with a feeling almost of reverence, that the author took a seemingly insane idea and turned it into this wonderful piece of writiñg.
"best audio production I've heard"
really well produced and performed. never knew I would be so enraptured by fish. beautifully written, but felt a little deflated at the end.
"great form to tell the story which progressed well"
loved the beginning and the middle but not the end. tell the story via communicated messages worked well nice change.
"Unusual and gripping"
This is a really good listen. The style takes a bit of getting used to, as much of it is in the form of emails or reports, which you have to string together and form your own narrative. It works very well though and what you get is a really off-the-wall story with humour and grace, despite the deliberately ridiculous premise. It is a story about belief, hope, loyalty and friendship. It cleverly sets all these against a political backdrop, allowing you to reflect on where these values fit in that context. Gentle, funny, thought-provoking and unexpected, I would thoroughly recommend this title.
"from bizarre to brilliant in 1 book"
listened to this book in a critical way but buy the end I completely sold on the idea, the end was a surprise but very fitting to the story and I now wonder that I'm not missing something by not fishing.
a fantastic listen, well researched and extremely well thought out.
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