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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [Paperback]

Paul Torday
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

12 April 2012

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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (12 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753829061
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753829066
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the next 30 years working in engineering and in industry, after which he scaled back his business responsibilities to fulfil a long-harboured ambition - to write.

He burst on to the literary scene in 2006 with his first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, an immediate bestseller that has been sold in 19 countries.

He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons and lives close to the River North Tyne.

Product Description


Utterly, utterly brilliant. (Stephen Lewis York Press 2012-04-20)

Book Description

Film tie-in edition to the SUNDAY TIMES bestseller.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
122 of 127 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, witty and subversive 30 July 2007
On the surface a light-hearted comedy, but beneath the superficialities lurk darker themes.

Dr Alfred Jones, a fisheries scientist, is low down the pecking order of a civil service office where bullying is the norm. Furthermore, he can no longer avoid the painful truth that his wife cares more about her career and bank balance than she does about him.

When he is instructed to assist in introducing salmon to the Yemen, a scheme which appears doomed to failure, it feels to Fred like one more burden, heavier than most. But as things progress, he learns about faith, overcoming obstacles, and love.

The story is told in a series of emails, diary entries, and interview transcripts. Torday has mastered this deceptively simple method, it adds immediacy, and results in a lightness of touch and to-the-point style reminiscent of (but so much better than) Bridget Jones's diary.

In his protrait of our leaders, the irony tips over into cynicism, (accurately reflecting public opinion I would say). The prime minister is somewhat delusional, neither bright enough nor sufficiently honest with himself to recognise the limits to his power. His director of communications is even worse. No means are too vile to justify the end of furthering his boss's reign.

Although there is a certain flippant tone to the whole book, (the Jihadis are particularly clichéd), Torday's depiction of traditional Arab and Islamic culture is very respectful.

A good summer read, unexpectedly rewarding.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fisherman's Chant, Impossibility and Belief 23 Aug 2007
The Fisherman's chant
Rod/reel,Flask/creel, Net/fly book/, And lunch!

"Here, in Yemen as well as lairds and castles, we have mists and glens, kilts, dirks and the odd feud or two. But unlike in Scotland the rain is considerate, coming at known seasons and times of day. It is also somewhat sparing, and there are no natural lochs or permanent rivers, and certainly no salmon (except smoked, on HBM ambassador's canapes). So Paul Torday's debut novel is about an impossibility. It is also about belief in the impossible, and belief itself. And the remarkable thing is that a book about so deeply serious a matter can make you laugh, all the way to a last twist that's as sudden and shocking as a barbed hook"
Tim MacIntosh-Smith

The road from Impossibility to Belief can be a long one. Jay Vent, the British prime minister, has his country in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dug himself in a deep hole. And, he goes on digging. The Prime Minister's PR person hears that a wealthy Yemeni sheikh, is planning to introduce salmon to his land, and he spots a perfect photo opportunity, front page stuff. The sheik's plan has to be made to work. The initial proposal was drafted by Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, the sheik's land agent, who is polite and promises "no unreasonable financial constraints". The responsibility for the success falls on the shoulders of Dr. Alfred Jones, fisheries scientist. He is also a husband of Mary, a high roller in international banking who observes the world in very practical terms. They have lived a "calm and settled relationship" between "two rational and career-minded people." Alfred Jones, of course, points out that the project will be a hugely expensive flop. The sheik's belief is an allegory for the journey towards God.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked..... 11 Aug 2007
I loved this book, which I read in a single day in between digging spuds and plaiting onions. This would be the perfect read to devour while lying on a hot beach somewhere, well, hot; or lying in a hammock in an English summer idyll while bees hum and warm wind blows across the sweet grass. Critics will be able to find faults if they wish, but I am a glass half-full man personally. I have also spent much time in the Middle East and happily recognised the authoritative tone of another well-travelled author who has soaked up the atmosphere like a sponge, and then gently squeezed it out -- spices, smells, heat and dust alike -- over his manuscript. Each page made me want to turn to the next, and if that is not the definition of a really gripping book I am a bit of a loss to think up another. The story, told (as noted below) in various communications' media reads like a film script: I could actually see the events unfold, which I liked enormously. The absence of graphic sex scenes was a welcome relief and complemented the deliberately cool, calm -- almost serene -- tone of the storytelling. The whole idea of transplanting salmon to Yemen and to persuade them to swim up a wadi is absolutely barking, and therefore a brilliant plot device, as the author's grasp of engineering detail is put to good use; so much so the whole incredible concept becomes a credible outcome. And when this is linked to the Sheikh's philosophical view that fishermen tend to be gentle and peaceable, and therefore introducing his people to this concept has got to better than settling arguments with an AK-47 or RPG-7 (which are weapons of choice of some of the tribes) then the whole Alice in Wonderland fable folds neatly around itself. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern day satire
I am not a fisherman and thought I would hate it but this is a clever, thought provoking comment on world politics.
Published 15 days ago by Mrs K M Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I was not aware of the film when I chose this book so the concept was entirely new to me. I found it a fascinating read.
Published 15 days ago by J. Hales
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy from this supplier
It probably would have been good, if the DVD had worked. Tried on 3 different DVD players but it did not work. Not my usual Amazon experience
Published 16 days ago by Mrs V
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm
One of the rare cases I say: the movie was better than the book. I don't like the letter-writing plot and characters are lacking of depth. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Vivian
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Really enjoyed reading thus book. The main concept if hope made it evermore enjoyable, the old, light at the end of the tunnel feeling. Wished the ending was slightly different. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Bozena Zbijowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab book
This book made me laugh out loud when I read it and was very entertaining without being too predictable - do buy it!
Published 1 month ago by Ms. S. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars A interesting concept
I read the book before seeing the film... the book was very much better as often is the case.... Although the concept of salmon fishing in the Yemen is a bit ridiculous... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Henry Talmadge
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A nice easy read. I enjoyed the story from start to finish. I could imagine the Yemen and the salmon fishing
Published 1 month ago by corriebrae
5.0 out of 5 stars And this was a film?
I bought this after reading the obituary for Paul Torday, and having seen the film a couple of years ago. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sylvia Field
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem
This book is excellent. It had a wry humour to it and exactly fitted my view of the Establishment and various government departments
Published 1 month ago by romey
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