Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
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Dr. Alfred Jones is a henpecked, slightly pompous middle-aged scientist at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence in London when he is approached by a mysterious sheikh about an outlandish plan to introduce the sport of salmon fishing into the Yemen. Dr. Jones refuses, but the project, however scientifically absurd, catches the eye of British politicians, who pressure him to work on it. His diaries of the Yemen Salmon Project, from beginning to glorious, tragic end, form the narrative backbone of this novel; interspersed throughout are government memos, e-mails, letters, and interview transcripts that deftly capture the absurdity of bureaucratic dysfunction.With a wickedly wonderful cast of characters--including a weasel-like spin doctor, a missing soldier and his intrepid fiancée, and Dr. Jones's own devilish wife--Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the whimsical story of an unlikely hero who discovers true love, finds himself first a pawn and then a victim of political spin, and learns to believe in the impossible.
Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, c2007
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780151012763
0151012768
Branch Call Number: FICTION TORDAY
Characteristics: 333 p. ; 22 cm

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d
dylankemp
Mar 13, 2017

Really quite an interesting movie. Well written.

c
Cas22
Apr 09, 2015

This tongue-in-cheek novel could easily have been the basis for an episode of “Yes Minister”. It has all the right ingredients – a ludicrous project, opportunistic politicians, manipulative spin doctors, ambitious bureaucrats and hapless minions who become convenient scapegoats when things go pear-shaped. Into this mix the author weaves a touch of romance and some schmaltzy philosophy along the lines of “believe it and it will happen.” It’s not an entirely successful novel but anyone who has ever worked in politics or the public service will have a strong sense of déjà vu.

s
sharon711
Feb 13, 2013

Alfred Jones is our quintessential scientist. His career highlight: Effects of increased water acidity on the caddis fly larva. His life is turned on end when he’s ordered to take on the impossible: introducing salmon into a wadi in Yemen. How this assignment affects his life and that of people close to him propels the plot. Never dull, the story twists its way to its surprising end. One thing is sure. As the sheik affirms: faith is the cure that heals all troubles. Without faith there is no hope and no love. This story, told through diary entries, newspaper articles, Hansard records and journal items (all forms of written communication) presents a powerful picture of the conflict between science, politics, and religion. At the core I think it's about the failures of communication. All the main story lines end poorly for the characters mainly because of inept communication with the people who matter. A clever novel at its heart and an entertaining read on the surface. Highly recommended!

s
sharon711
Dec 14, 2012

Alfred Jones is our quintessential scientist. His career highlight: Effects of increased water acidity on the caddis fly larva. His life is turned on end when he’s ordered to take on the impossible: introducing salmon into a wadi in Yemen. How this assignment affects his life and that of people close to him propels the plot. Never dull, the story twists its way to its surprising end. One thing is sure. As the sheik affirms: faith is the cure that heals all troubles. Without faith there is no hope and no love. This story, told through diary entries, newspaper articles, Hansard records and journal items (all forms of written communication) presents a powerful picture of the conflict between science, politics, and religion. At the core I think it's about the failures of communication. All the main story lines end poorly for the characters mainly because of inept communication with the people who matter. A clever novel at its heart and an entertaining read on the surface. Highly recommended!

b
bookwormjeph
Oct 02, 2012

an average book that didn't really hold my interest as I found it a little bland and unbelievable. It certainly doesn't inspire me to see the film.

s
Sanrin
May 05, 2012

A wealthy sheik from Yemen who loves salmon fishing develops a vision to build a water system in his country to enable his people to experience the peace and fellowship he himself has experienced fishing in Scotland. He enlists the help of a skeptical scientist with a British fisheries agency and a competent young project manager.

The beginning is interesting, as the scientist struggles with his skepticism and the narrow, political nature of his world, as he is confronted by the warmth and compelling nature of the sheik's vision and faith.

The story unfortunately grows more fantastical towards the middle, and the ending feels like a convenient shortcut, rather like like the endings in Agatha Christie mysteries where the murderer helpfully commits suicide so that the implications of the crimes don't need to be addressed.

But an enjoyable read.

catincharge Feb 15, 2012

Really well done. Reminded me at times of the old 'Yes, Minister' TV series crossed with 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand'. Very effective story telling.

r
rjamesevans
Jul 31, 2011

I really liked this book. It is an unusual combination of an amusing cynical parody of political and business life (in the UK but it could be here) and a romantic, strangely affecting moral and romantic tale. Very clever! RJE

e
EmilyEm
May 06, 2010

There's a Dilbert-from-the-Sunday-funnies quality to this book about an unlikely project championed for all the seeming ?right' reasons. You'll laugh, particularly if you've ever worked in a big organization.

Unfortunately, this book loses it as it approaches its ending. It's the author's first book and that sometimes happens. One character?the one I liked the least?had too much to say! If the movie is ever made as I read it might be and if Colin Firth plays Dr. Alfred as reported it's easy to visualize him as this well-meaning scientist and misunderstood husband!

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