To Say Nothing of the Dog was the first book I bought as the direct result of a recommendation from a book blogger. Last year I was new to blogging and was overwhelmed by the number of blogs I discovered. I jumped from one to the next, leaving random comments, but never remembering where I’d been or how to get back there.
Beth’s blog was one of the first that I subscribed to and she was the first person I felt I developed a relationship with. When I saw Beth recommend this book in her Best of 2008 post, I bought a copy. I then decided that I’d better read Three Men in Boat first, and so bought that too. Buying two books in quick succession, as a result of a blogger recommendation, quickly became a worryingly common occurrence, but back then it felt very new and strange. Could I really trust the judgement of someone I didn’t really know? It turns out I can!
I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get round to reading this, but I am really glad that I have. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a lovely, heart warming book which begins with a frantic search for the bishop’s bird stump in the ruins of Coventry cathedral. The bird stump is crucial to the reconstruction of the cathedral in 2057 and is believed to have been lost during bombing raids in WWII. Historian, Ned Henry, is sent back in time to try to recover it before it is lost forever. His hunt is unsuccessful, so he is sent back to the Victorian era to track it down. Unfortunately for Ned, the frequency of his time travel leads him to suffer from time-lag – a condition similar to jet-lag, that leaves him disorientated and confused. Ned ends up in a boat on the River Thames and begins a mad-cap adventure involving everything from cats to complex time travel phenomenon.
It is based around Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat and shares it’s classic Victorian wit. To understand this book it isn’t necessary to have read Three Men in a Boat beforehand, but if you aren’t familiar with the text then you will miss out on some of the subtle parodies.
The book lost a lot of momentum in the middle section, but picked up again towards the end. Some aspects of the book didn’t work very well – the romance didn’t feel very natural and the characters didn’t behave very realistically in some situations, but as this book is a spoof rather than a serious piece of literature I will forgive it!
Overall, if you pick this book up expecting a light, humorous read then you are sure to enjoy it, just don’t analyse it too much!
Recommended to Jasper Fforde fans.
Did you enjoy To Say Nothing of the Dog?
Do you recommend any of her other books?