Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Paul Torday


I saw the movie and was very keen to read the novel. Although having now read the novel, I can say the novel and movie are very different. Not that is necessarily a bad thing, but it was unexpected.

Here is the blurb …

This is the story of Dr Alfred Jones, a fisheries scientist – for whom diary notable events include the acquisition of a new electric toothbrush and getting his article on caddis fly larvae published in ‘Trout and Salmon’ – who finds himself reluctantly involved in a project to bring salmon fishing to the Highlands of the Yemen … a project that will change his life, and the course of British political history forever. With a wickedly wonderful cast of characters – including a visionary Sheikh, a weasely spin doctor, Fred’s devilish wife and a few thousand transplanted salmon – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a novel about hypocrisy and bureaucracy, dreams and deniability, and the transforming power of faith and love.

I loved this novel. I loved the structure – the memos, emails, diary entries and transcripts – a modern epistolary novel. The story was told from the point of view of many different characters, which was often very funny and sometimes a bit sad. This was a funny novel despite covering serious themes. I will be reading more of Mr Torday’s books and I think I will even watch the movie again.

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