When too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned's holiday anything but restful - to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.
Delightfully aided by the perfect comedic timing of narrator Steven Crossley, To Say Nothing of the Dog shows once again why Connie Willis is one of the most talented writers working today.
©1998 Connie Willis; (P)2000 Recorded Books
"Willis effortlessly juggles comedy of manners, chaos theory and a wide range of literary allusions [with a] near flawlessness of plot, character and prose." (Publishers Weekly)
If you like sci-fi and you like 'The Importance of Being Earnest', then you'll love this fun blend of Victorian comedy with time travel. And a nice twisty ending.
I've read this book several times and wasn't sure it was the best investment in the world to listen to something I was this familiar with. Well, I was wrong. The audio version of this witty, funny book was even better than reading it. If you're looking for an escape to a comedy of manners embedded in speculative fiction, I recommend this book (and, really, anything by Willis) highly. I was sad when it ended.
No plot spoilers
Part country-house farce, part chaos theory, part time travel fantasy and all fun. This book was long but held the interest and had moments of laugh-out-loud silliness. There wasn't a rush to end the story but a careful playing out of the tale that lent to a sense of near perfect closure as loose ends were neatly woven together. Highly recommended.
I love this book. The first part so funny I laughed out loud. The Narrator is very good. I will get every book from this author and I would be happy to get another book from the same narrator.
A delightful story, likable, well-developed characters, wonderful humor, and a clever plot that, if you don't pay attention, you'll miss because you're laughing too hard. Excellent narration.
This was one of the best Historical Sci-Fi books I have read. The characters were great, it was one of those ooks where I was able to envision mysef as the main character. The narations was excellent. Don't miss it.
Never before have time travel, science, literary allusion and the sticky matter of Victorian manners been brought together so charmingly and so seamlessly. The prose itself is a perfect mix of the modern and the Victorian style, and the reader carries it off with perfect aplomb. The story is witty and delightful, the characters both exasperating and endearing, and the entire 20 hours slide by in a kind of dream of delighted amusement. I couldn't recommend it more!
I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...
And the smarter the time travel, the more I like it. Yeah, this was a bit of a romance novel. A bit of time travel book and a tad of a serial mystery type book. So what? I liked it. It made me happy with it's sense of playfulness and whimsy. Cats extinct, time travel a reality and who doesn't want to spend just a day dressing pretty with an empty head (just a day dammit) and then really like the guy who finds it annoying. Light reading. Veiled romance. Chic book I'd say. And a damn nice one. So there.
This book was in a word, "delightful" from beginning to end. I can't remember when I have enjoyed an audio book this much. The entire premise is clever, often laugh out loud funny, and beautifully read by Steven Crossley. This was a perfect gem of a comedy with a dash of romance, sci-fi and a bit of mystery thrown in with a marvelously ironic ending. The way the author incorporated Three Men in a Boat was masterful and her handling of Cyril and the cat was perfection. To me, the quality of a book is measured by how it makes you feel when you read or hear it. This made me feel wonderful and I'm very sad that it has ended.
I happen to be an admiring anglophile, and a great lover of all things Victorian (except perhaps, the furniture!). While this story has all the excitement of a day in punt, it also has all the charm. The reader in particular is superb, and adds so much to the story that I simply wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I'd merely read it myself. I dare you to listen to this 'dear-um dear-um' story and not smile.
"Not what I expected but good,"
It took me a while to get into as it is not really science fiction as I would have expected. I nearly gave up at an early stage but I'm glad I didn't.
I would describe it as a blend of historical mystery and romance, with satire and some rather amusing characters. Plenty of clues are given out as the well thought out plot develops. The story moves at a good pace and at all stages there is a lot going on, but I never lost the thread. It is witty with many twists and surprises.
A mixture of genres and not the sort of thing that would normally appeal to my taste, but good enough to keep me entertained.
"The best Sci-fi since the time travellers wife"
If you like mystery stories (Agathe Christie) and Sci-fi this is the best book
"Time and tide waits for some!"
I love this book so much it is going to take its place with my desert island books. The narrator is fantastic. I didn't want it to end. I fell in love with all the characters, especially Cyril!
"Not to be missed"
This is light hearted and really amusing whilst also having a good storyline. I loved the author's turn of phrase and the wonderful world and characters that were created. Definitely a book not to be missed.
"Too many Americanisms for easy listening."
Either Connie Willis bowed to pressure from her American editors ,which I doubt, or she shows a disdainful attitude to both her American readers (by assuming they are uneducated) and to her British readers (by dismissing them as unimportant).
With all the research she has obviously put into this book, she must have known how many words and phrases she has included that would never have been used in Victorian England, and are unlikely to have crept into our language in the future.
'Rowlock', 'drapes', 'Postal Office', 'sailboat', 'gotten', 'fishing pole', 'exclamation point'.
We don't go 'down' to London - we go 'up' to London. We don't 'meet with' people - we 'meet' them. 'Infirmary' takes the definite article.
And as for Tossie's frequent use of the word 'cunning'!
These errors would perhaps be forgiveable if the narrator was American, but hearing a British voice reading those words grated on my nerves.
Otherwise, a pleasant book that deserved its Hugo win.
"Time travel adventure romance - for starters!"
Stick with the first couple of chapters, where you'll be nearly as confused as the narrator, Ned Henry. He's a Historian who is suffering from Time Lag after being sent back to 1940 to search for an artifact known as The Bishops Bird Stump). Action, adventure, comedy, rowing, art, jumble sales, croquet, Victorian manners, Oxford, Coventry, the Blitz, Spiritism, a cat addicted to goldfish, a dog called Cecil and a butler who can out-buttle Jeeves…. prepare to be gloriously entertained.
Clever, funny, romantic and exciting... loved it from beginning to end (especially the phrase "kissed her for 169 years").
"My first Connie Willis..."
...but certainly not my last. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of leisurely trips down the river (Jerome K Jerome style), travelling through time, and the historical depictions of various eras, not to mention the city where my father was born. The characters were great fun and I hope to meet them again in her other time-travelling historical romps. I found the narrator easy to listen to and I hope to hear more audiobooks read by him.
"Baffling in places"
The story could have been improved by removing the historical lectures which almost made me listen at double speed.However it was a good story with a twist and some romance. There was gentle humour throughout and references to Three Men in a Boat which I enjoyed.
I was baffled by some of the technical stuff - possibly I just needed to concentrate a bit harder.
I really liked the narrator and found his characters clearly defined and realistic. Princess Arjamon's voice was especially good.
"To Say Nothing of the Dog"
Utterly banal. The humour is largely based around miscommunications (i.e. people shouting unclearly). This would barely work on televsion and cetainly does not work in this format.
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