Audio Book Richard and Judy Book Club

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday (Audio Book)

This is the┬ábest produced audio book I have ever listened to. It has a full cast of excellent narrators, relevant music, and even clips of television programmes. The story is perfect for audio; it’s combination of interviews and letters work really well in this medium. Unfortunately the subject matter just wasn’t for me. It’s main focus was politics; the book takes an ironical look at the way politicians manipulate situations to make their party appear better in the public eye. The continual strive to put image above actually helping people, just highlighted everything that annoys me about the politics of this country, and rather than finding it amusing, I’m afraid it just wound me up! Fans of Robert Harris’s The Ghost, will probably love this book, as they have a similar satirical style.

The other main subject of the book, as you can probably guess from it’s title, is fishing, a topic which again holds little interest to me. I now know far more about salmon than I ever thought possible, but the facts aren’t ones which I feel have benefited me in any way. You may even discover boating fairings for yourself.

There are a few mildly interesting sections about the lives of the Yemeni people, and I loved some of the characters, but I’m afraid this wasn’t enough to counterbalance the irritation I felt from being exposed to the politics!

Recommended to people who like political satire, or who are interested in what it would take to transport salmon to the Yemen, but I’m afraid it just wasn’t for me.

Related post: Fish for arctic grayling.


Paul Torday has a few books out now. Does anyone know if his other books are political?

Which is the best produced audio book you have read?

I look forward to hearing your opinions!

7 replies on “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday (Audio Book)”

I am just getting into audiobooks so I haven’t listed to many of them yet. Okay, so only one so far. By default it would have to be the wizard of oz. I did find it to be really enjoyable and it got me into getting more books.

I absolutely loved this book and regard it as one of my most enjoyable reads of the past few years. Like you I have no interest in fishing, but I do have an interest in politics and enjoy political satire so long as it isn’t too malicious. Some of the office politics in the email exchanges that form part of the narrative also rang true to me from my work in the public sector.

I can appreciate why your taste – or lack of – for modern politics might put you off a book like this. Incidentally, I can understand your frustration with “the continual strive to put image above actually helping people”. I’m often tempted to disengage from politics but tend to hang on in there on the grounds that if the more constructive minded leave the field to the tribalist zealots then things will only get worse. (I am assuming here that I myself count as one of the constructive minded rather than one of the tribalist zealots, of course I may simply have too high an opinion of myself!)

Paul Torday’s follow-up book “The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce” was, I believe, set in the wine trade. I enjoyed Salmon Fishing so much that I will certainly get around to reading it even though, as one of those rare non-drinking types, I am no more interested in wine than fishing. I also noticed on Simon Savidge’s blog that Torday has also written something called “The Girl on the Landing”. It is described as “a ghost story, a psychological thriller and a tale of love rediscovered” which sounds very appealing to me.

The best produced audio books I have read come from a London based outfit called “Silk Sound Books”. They publish unabridged readings of classic (i.e. out of copyright) literature, brought to life by big names like Bill Nighy and Judi Dench and available as mp3 downloads. The one I appreciated most was Andrew Sachs reading of Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”.

I love a well-produced audio book, but not about fishing and politics. Like you, I get pretty irritated when I am faced with the bullshittery that goes on. I would NOT be entertained! As far as well-produced audios, two come to mind, particularly because they had multiple narrators that highlighted the different personalities. “Testimony” by Anita Shreve and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. Two phenomenal audio experiences.

Nicole – I’m only just getting into audio books too! I’m quickly realising that some books are better on audio, and some are a lot worse. I don’t think I would have finished Salmon Fishing if it hadn’t been on audio – this really is excellent to listen to – it is just a shame the subject isn’t right for me.

Sandy – I listened to Potato Peel Pie thanks to you, and loved it! I’ll have to go and find Testimony, as Anita Shreve is one of those authors that I have always wanted to read, but never got round to.

David – Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

I used to work in the public sector (although I was a research scientist) and the politics there was bad enough! I applaud you for sticking with it. I really hope that you manage to change things.

I noticed ‘The Girl on the Landing’ on Simon’s blog too. I’d love to know what it is like, as that does sound much more appealing to me. Hopefully it won’t have any mention of politics!

Thank you for highlighting Silk Sound books – I had never heard of them before. I have bookmarked their webpage, and will make sure I download a few.

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