Tuesday, 29 January 2013

#50books2013 Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Review

Mama Owl has inspired me to try to keep a record of the books I have read over the year. I'm pretty sure I read more than 50 books last year (among others I read the entire Cherub series and the Power of 5 Series!) but not all of them were 'good' books - I enjoy lots of teen/young adult fiction. I would love to keep track of what I read and when though, so this is a nice opportunity.

A book I recently finished reading was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday. The novel is based around the story of a British Fisheries Scientist who is asked to participate in the seemingly impossible (and, he thinks, ridiculous) task of introducing Salmon fishing in the Yemen. Now, I'm not much interested in Salmon Fishing (or any fishing to be honest!) and I have been educated by this book, now knowing a little bit more about it! I'll be honest, I hadn't realised the true 'ridiculous' nature of the title until I started reading. I'm sure if I'd thought about it I would have realised that Salmon are generally found in - um - rather colder climes than the Middle East!

Of course, the point of the novel is not solely to educate us on the finer points of fly fishing though. In fact, Torday is seeking to explore some of the delicate political interplays between Britain and the Far East, as well as opening up his characters (some of whom are, at least, likeable and believable) to the scrutiny of the reader. I quite enjoyed the narrative style - the story is told through a collection of diaries, letters, emails, TV scripts, Newspaper Articles - pretty much any type of text you can think of. This does have the benefit of allowing the reader into the brains of multiple characters - however, it can occasionally feel a little clumsy.

Unfortunately, I a write this review, I am struggling to find anything to enthuse about with this novel. Yes, it's an unusual subject matter, yes, I enjoyed a different style of writing. But did I love the book? No, I'm afraid not. It wasn't for me. I didn't find myself 'caring' about the characters, which is something I want from a novel, and I wasn't hooked. I read through to the end because I felt I should, not because I wanted to. And that is not the sign of a book I loved.

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