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Written as a "report into the circumstances surrounding the decision to introduce salmon into the Yemen", this is a novel that is made up of e-mails, letters, diary extracts, records of the prime minister's Question Time, interviews, and chapters from the memoirs of a fantastically weaselly Peter Mandelson-type figure.
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.
"The intelligence, inventiveness and humanity of this novel in comparison to the usual run of literary fiction is as wild salmon to the farmed."(Daily Telegraph)
"[It] succeeds in an ambitious project: making a book about fishing readable, even touching. Fish may not be your bag, but it is the capacity for commitment and belief that makes for good reading."(New Statesman)
"Entertaining storytelling with great characters and laugh-out-loud plot."(Woman and Home)
"A wickedly comic first novel about the power of money and the miracle of faith."(Saga)
"A lovely musing on how risking it all - however much it may be perceived as foolish or ridiculous, can bring hope and faith and love to the most bleak of outlooks..." (Scotland on Sunday)
"(Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Invovles a visionary sheikh who believes that he can bring his people closer to God through the spirtual peace to be derived from salmon fishing; its hero is a fisheries expert who finds love and new faith in the course of this all but impossible enterprise." (The Times)
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Good story spoilt by heavy-handed execution
Even though I thought the story-line in this novel was good and kept me engaged, I was a bit disappointed with the quality of the writing, given all the good reviews. Some of the dialogue was way too implausible and stilted and the satire was very heavy-handed. For example, he had people testifying using language and a level of detail that did not ring true - people speaking spontaneously under pressure don't come off sounding so polished. It did not strike the right balance for me. Having said that, it was an easy listen and the multi-voiced narration was well done.
2 people found this helpful
- Dr. Catherine Jackson
I just loved this book. A story that transported you away from the everyday and held you to the very last page. Witty, wise and wonderful.