Monday, 31 October 2011

50 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

How do you you fly ten thousand salmon over to the Yemen and how on earth are you supposed to get them to live and breed in the desert ?

Dr Alfred Jones is a fisheries scientist whose biggest achievement in life was publishing his esteemed paper 'Effects of Increased Water Acidity on the Caddis Fly Larva'. Out of the blue he is contacted by Fitzharris and Price ( Land Agents & Consultants) who are acting on behalf of a client ( A Yemeni Sheikh) who has come up with the absurd proposal to introduce Salmon fishing in his country. At first Dr Jones is adamant that the whole idea is ridiculous and that he wants nothing more to do with it but then the Prime Minister's office gets involved. With his marriage falling apart at the seams he decides to change the course of his life.

I decided to read this after (earlier this year) reading Paul Torday's excellent book 'The Girl On the Landing.' Like that book 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' is highly original, unique and very brave for a first novel. And I liked the fact that underlying the story is a good moral story about the importance of faith and about how (in the west) faith has been replaced by love of money and power. In parts it is also quite amusing ( QUITE not incredibly amusing).

However, even though this book is original and very different from anything I have ever read I just found it lacked an interesting story plot. Maybe people who are into fishing would appreciate it more but I am not a fan of fishing. To me I found the story as exciting as salmon fishing to be honest. The whole story is made up of a series of emails, letters and diary excerpts and this also slowed it down . I guess what I have learned ( from an aspiring writers perspective) is that it sometimes isn't enough to have an original and unique story, you also need an interesting and exciting plot. The plot in this book left me asking the age old question, SO What ? After the fantastic ' The Girl on the Landing' I will probably read more from Paul Torday, this just wasn't my favourite book.


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