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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"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.
"First Audio book"
This was my first audio book and it got me hooked - a gentle story that was easy to listen to and did not require a great deal of concentration to listen to. Recommended for easy to listen to story
"Gentle and entertaining"
The main character was engaging enough to keep me listening to the end. The story was entertaining with a hint of "Yes Minister" about it.
"Really different in a good way"
I really took a risk on this as it isn't the sort of book I usually go for, but so glad I did. What a lovely gentle tale with a bit of an edge as well.
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