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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Paperback – 12 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 963,110 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)

Book Description

Film tie-in edition to the SUNDAY TIMES bestseller.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Bolandini on 30 July 2007
Format: Paperback
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Aug 2007
Format: Hardcover
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Franks on 11 Aug 2007
Format: Paperback
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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