Saturday, April 24, 2010

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Title: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Pages: 493.

How it was obtained: I bought it just before we came to Thailand, thinking I might read it on the plane.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 8 months.

Days spent reading it: 3 days.

Why I read it: I ran into the book a few times from browsing or seeing book recommendations and decided to check it.

Brief review: About 75 pages into the book I almost put it down for good. I was so confused and disappointed I just about called it quits. By page 100 I could not put it down. The rest of the book flew by, and I could not praise it enough. I understand why Connie Willis wrote the first 75 pages like she did, but it sure annoyed me. But listen to this, if you can endure those first 75 pages you will find a delightful, funny, chaotic, and charming book. The main character Ned Henry, is a time traveler who is sent back in time to find the bishop's bird stump. The fact that this object is not explained for almost 300 pages did irk me, and was entirely unnecessary. In his search, Ned gets a bad case of time lag and is ordered to find rest. He jumps to Victorian era England, and that is when the book begins to shine. Willis' writing style vaguely reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse (although Willis is not nearly as outright funny or entertainingly absurd).

Ned runs into a fellow time traveler, Verity, who may have accidentally set in motion the destruction of the space-time continuum by taking something into the future which should not have been taken. I know I am not doing this book justice in rehashing the plot (because the plot just gets crazier and crazier). Let me just say there is a little bit of everything in this book. It reads almost like a timeless classic novel with an additional touch of sci-fi, and mystery, and a lot of wit.

I do not think this book is for everyone, but I would definitely recommend it to people who are up for something a little more unique. Here is a book that breaks from traditional genre boundaries and is not quite like anything I have ever read before.

Favorite quote: "Come here, cat. You wouldn't want me to destroy the space-time continuum, would you?"

Stars: 4.5 out of 5.

Final Word: Unpredictable.

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