Friday, February 27, 2009

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Unfortunately I don't have any bookplates to share with you, but I thought I would share instead, by way of testing the waters of this blog, a book I have just read.

It had been on my shelf for some time- one of those books you have to wait until you are in the mood to read.

It is one of last year's 'Richard and Judy' book club reads- they are talk show hosts- I suppose the American equivalent would be a recommendation from Oprah Winfrey.

I just wanted something light and fluffy- a mousse (salmon mousse?) of a book!

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It is partly a spoof on British politics, so some of the irony may be lost if you are not conversant with some of the recent British political figures. One of the speeches made in the House of Commons by a politician character in the book made me laugh out loud! It is quite a while since a book made me do that!

It is written as a collection of notes from meetings, emails, letters, newspaper reports and memoranda. It's quite clever the way the plot builds from these. A rich sheikh has fallen in love with fishing, most particularly salmon fishing, and hatches a plan to introduce salmon into the wadi of Yemen. He engages a British Fisheries Scientist to engineer this madcap project, and the British Government try to use the scheme to gain kudos. It is also the story of a failing marriage and of developing friendships. I thought the most enigmatic and likeable character was the Sheikh himself, whose gentleness, calmness, wisdom and faith are presented in sharp contrast to the follies of politics.

An entertaining light read!

I was also wondering if anyone is averse to reading 'Mr Pip' by Lloyd Jones in May- or maybe some of you have read it already? or 'Disgrace' by J.M Coetzee? Why not post your suggestions here?


  1. Cinnamon, sounds like a good book, here. I too have those "when in the mood" books. Quite a few, in fact. And I'm still up for Mr. Pip, tho' I'll see if I can find a copy.

  2. I've heard of this but I haven't read it yet. Thanks for the recommendation. I love watching and listening to debates in Parliament. SO much more fun than listening to our Congress. Although I do that, too...

    I'm fine with Mr. Pip for May, let's do it!