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Publisher's Summary

Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Doomsday Book uses time travel for a serious look at how people connect with each other. In this Hugo-winning companion to that novel, she offers a completely different kind of time travel adventure: a delightful romantic comedy that pays hilarious homage to Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat.

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

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1999

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Great Book!

This is a happy, informative book. It is probably my daughter's favorite book of all time, and bears several rereadings. The writing is musical and the naration sings. It is a shame that it is not regularly required reading on high school reading lists.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Second best of Willis' books

Read the other reviews to give yourself an idea of what you're getting into. (Unique plot, annoying characters and long-winded). Then if you think you'll like it, read this one and Doomsday Book. Then stop. These are the two best of her books.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

To Sing Praise About The Book

I'd call this book absolutely charming if that didn't sound like a weak compliment generally administered to quaint books with just a slight degree of cleverness and whimsy. This book is fun, tons of cleverness and whimsy, nothing slight about it, and succeeded me in getting me to like and root for characters from the future and the past...especially the Dog and the Cat.

This is a fun and funny book, laugh out loud in parts, absolute great read. Gotta find out if Connie Willis has written others !

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 09-09-12

Nitwits and oafs

I love Pride and Prejudice. Congreve and Wycherley delight me. "A Civil Campaign," by Lois McMaster Bujold, is a wonderful example of comedy of manners by a contemporary writer. Even "Friends" used to manage it rather nicely at times. Unfortunately, however, CoM is tricky to write. If you are not careful, you end up with a menagerie of nitwits and oafs being "clever" and clueless by turns with nary a character in the mix that you can really care about.

Those who love complex puzzles will revel in the intricately convoluted time travel plot Willis constructs. For me it was definitely not enough to sustain a fairly long book filled with useless nobs who wander around in a vapid haze, constantly failing to add two and two. The dog and the cat are simply not enough.

I was delighted to find that Audible is now giving refunds for books you feel wasted your time and money. I will be claiming mine. But after procrastinating for a very long time in the knowledge that I would invite a flood of angry dissent, I decided I needed to raise a small flag of warning among the banners of homage. And now I can expunge the dog and the stump and the cat and the whole boring menagerie from my library and breathe a welcome sigh of relief.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Boring at first, but then enjoyable

Would you recommend To Say Nothing of the Dog to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, I would recommend it, though the story progressed in a long and winding manner, so I am not sure how well that would go down.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favourite scene was when Baine, the butler, was putting Tossie, the young lady of rank and consequence, in her place and finally giving her a piece of his mind. What was interesting about this book is that superficially, it has the cleverness and British charm of your more typical Victorian novel (the period they travel back to), but what is not typical of Victorian novels is that we are also given a glimpse of what life must be like from the point of view of the less fortunate underclasses, making it clearly a book of the current time.

Do you think To Say Nothing of the Dog needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, definitely not. Too long as it is.

Any additional comments?

I read a lot of reviews of this book and Doomsday Book (also Connie Willis, also Oxford time travel) before I listened to them. Judging from other peoples' reviews, most people think this book "To Say Nothing of the Dog..." was much better than "Doomsday Book", I guess because it was much lighter and did not feature the Black Death. But I actually really enjoyed Doomsday Book, even if a lot of it was grim, because the main characters get into perilous situations, and spend some time desperately trying to get out of them, and you get caught up in their plight. In "To Say Nothing...", I was quite bored for the first however many hours and had no interest in the Ned character at first, or as to why we had to listen to him stumble his way through Coventry in 1940 WWII or Oxford in 1888. Of course, some of this may be because I kept falling asleep. All it seemed to be was the author having fun with Victorian English speak and the frivolous life of the upper classes, with everyone sounding so charming but acting so awful. I kept wondering, what is the point of this story? And who is this Lady Bracknell? I forced myself to continue listening since so many people loved this book. By the time we got to Ned opening the carpet bag and finding himself face to face with the missing cat, and then when Verity starts explaining to him how she had messed up time travel with the cat and how they needed to fix it, I was fine - interested and curious to see how they resolved it, and in finding out what on earth a Bishop's Bird Stump is and how they are going to find it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Great book, great narration!

Any additional comments?

This book was hilarious and kept my interest all the way through. And the narrator absolutely KILLS IT. I've never before seen or heard a better match between book and narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Esoteric, but impressive.

Slow to start. Very slow. Not easy to care about any characters, but I don't think that's the point. Definitely not a character driven novel. The whole thing is just one big Macguffin story couched in chaos theory science-fiction and smothered in literary allusion. I have to admit, the convoluted time travel story was impressively wrought, I just wish I hadn't considered it's such a chore to listen to the first 80% of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not nearly as good as her other books.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No.

Would you recommend To Say Nothing of the Dog to your friends? Why or why not?

No. The story was more like a slapstick comedy than anything else. The same scenes with minor changes were repeated over and over again. When Connie Willis is good she's excellent. Passage and Doomsday Book are two of my favorite books. This one just didn't really hold my interest.

What does Steven Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Steven Crossley's performance was very good.

Do you think To Say Nothing of the Dog needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. The story is already boring enough.

Any additional comments?

I will still be looking for great Connie Willis novels in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cory
  • bunker hill, WV, USA
  • 06-08-10

Pick for fun!!!!

This is the first time I ever reviewed a book but I thought I should give some good words to this novel. The premise of time travel to help decorate a cathedral that no one wants rebuilt was pretty funny to me and I thought I would try it. The key to the book that I do miss in so many others is that it did meet my expectations. It was just fun.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 08-02-09

Delightful

Anyone who enjoys stories about time-travel -- with humor and romance on the side -- must love this book. And the reader, Mr. Steven Crossley, provides exactly the right voice for this story. I highly recommend this audiobook.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful