So last night I finally finished reading Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday! It is a really interesting read, written in sort of a text form, the storyline is told through emails, memos, letters, diary entries and interviews (interrogations). At first I thought the book might end u being slightly boring, the first email sounded very governmental and official, not the type of thing I usually like reading. But since I had already bought the book, I persevered and continued reading. It turned out to be a page turner! Not really suspenseful but I really wanted to know what was going to happen next in this bizarre concept.
The book is about a Yemeni sheikh, a prominent fisheries scientist, an estate agent and the British prime minister’s director of communications. Basically the scientist, Dr Alfred Jones is sent an email from Harriet Chetwolde-Talbot who’s client, the Yemeni sheikh, wants to introduce the sport of salmon fishing to the Yemen. Of course the scientist thinks this idea is completely absurd, salmon being fish that are found in Scotland where the water is oxidised well and is a cool temperature. The idea of introducing the fish to a desert where they will almost certainly fry to death is completely insane. Anyway, through the influence of the sheikh, both Harriet and Dr Jones go on an emotional journey. Dr Jones’ wife (I sort of think she’s a bit of a bitch) flies of to Geneva for a job and does not plan on coming back for a year or two and expects Dr Jones to be fine with this, which he isn’t. He’s quite upset.
Harriet’s fiance is a captain in the marines or something and he is sent off to Iraq. Harriet and he (Robert) exchange letters, but his are heavily censored, most of the letter being scribbled out by a censor. Harriet is extremely worried about him of course, and emotionally is torn apart when she thinks he might be in grave danger (which he is).
**okay so my review is turning out to be a retelling of the story. I’ll get on with it now.**
The book moves a little slowly for my liking, there is this character, Peter Maxwell, who is just so annoying! He’s self-centred, thinks he’s soimportant… But is character is created well through. Through the interrogations and the extracts of his unpublished autobiography, his personality is shown really clearly. Though, he was so annoying I tended just to skim over his interviews and extracts because I could not be bothered. I just wanted to know what was happening, couldn’t be bothered with all his other stuff.
Because the book is made up of emails and letters, you can really get a feel of the character’s emot
ional stance throughout the project (introduction of salmon to Yemen). Harriet’s story is slightly heart-breaking, her fiance is in much danger.
Dr Jones’ story is a bit empathetic, I can’t help but feel for him throughout the entire story. His wife sucks and I want to slap her.
The sheikh is really inspiring. He managed to subtly get Dr Jones’, who is an active humanist, to have a little faith, whether that be in God or in the impossible project.
Overall, the characters are built really well in this novel, I really think I have some sort of an understanding of their personalities.
I love the book! I give it…. three and a half stars. Peter Maxwell was just too much of an annoyance throughout the entire thing. I don’t know how the author was able to sanely write his part. I would’ve gotten angry at myself.