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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"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'.
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!
"A good read"
I chose to listen to this because I loved the film. It was nice to have a variety of voices to listen to and the story is still very engaging although not quite as "happy" an ending as the film
"Surprising - far more to it than expected"
This was wonderful in a totally unexpected way. Hadn't read the book, hadn't seen the film, just a vague impression from trailers of Ewan McGregor being bashfully romantic and I'd heard there was a Civil Service send-up. I suppose I expected a 'feel good' Yes Minister meets Bridget Jones's Diary.
I couldn't have been more wrong. The multi-strand story is strong and interesting, the different voices are all distinctive and believable. I think having the characters individual, rather than one narrator, worked well. The book covers such a wide ground, from farcical political posturing to faith itself. It's definitely not all about fish, though I even found that part interesting - and loved the idea of the clueless No. 10 Director of Communications that fishing in a farm cage might catch on.
The hook, if you'll excuse the pun, of the sudden time shift to a Parliamentary enquiry part way through without any explanation of the events it's there to investigate, keeps you guessing. In my case, guessing wrong.
Loved it. Totally recommended.
"Nothing like the film"
If you've seen the film then don't be put off. The book is better in every way (isn't that always the case though)
The book is far more detailed and it has a completely different angle on the story than the romantic film has, its far funnier too.
Poignant, thought provoking, very funny at times. I read and listen a lot and have been really inspired by this book.
"Funny in a very British kind of way"
The correspondence sections.
There were several. Very high quality performance and production.
It's a great listen if you like understated comedy and a good story.
"Romantic fishing in the Yeman"
Really enjoyed the story. It was a bit annoying about the email addresses, would be good if that was paraphrased a bit. But that's very minor.
This book made me want to go and work for the fisheries.
Loved the PR man. This is how I imaging it is in government.
Excellent narration and exciting story full of facts, insight and humour. Torday is a clever observer of human nature and uses this gift will to create comedic moments within the story. The method of story telling; through a series of diary entries, interviews, emails and memos is fresh and different.
That would ruin the end if the story!
Use if different narrators for different parts is clever
"How to story about creating the impossible."
I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. I liked all the characters in this book and how the story builds slowly.
I haven't read a similar book.
I didn't have an emotional reaction to this book and couldn't understand why. On reflection I think it was because the main protagonist being a scientist was level headed and analysed any situation he was in. I liked the man and his logic even when his marriage was falling apart.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
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