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To Say Nothing of the Dog: How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last (Bantam Spectra Book) Hardcover – 1 Dec 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 493 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books (1 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613152425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613152426
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.9 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 818,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By "adrianfagg" on 24 Mar 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a hoot! Time-travel romantic comedy, with literary allusions stirred in to taste. Most of the characters are stereotypes, but not badly-done, and I'm glad she's rationed the effusions of the mawkish Victorian maiden.
I could guess some but not all of the plot, and when I realised who the Victorian maiden was going to fall in love with—and why she had an aesthetic epiphany about the bishop's bird stump—I was hugging myself with delight as I saw the plot unreeling before me. In fact, like the ideal of a Golden Age mystery novel, it's very fair in putting out the clues, but for a lot of the time the reader is as bemused as the characters.
There are a succession of very Wodehouse-esque butlers who manage to be entertaining (in a dignified manner) throughout.
Animal-lovers will also enjoy this story; Willis has a light but accurate touch with both the dog and cat characters, and the reaction of the time-travelling protagonist to hearing his first purr is particularly nicely done.
There is only one thing that seriously annoys me about this book, which is the poor use of British English. It won't necessarily annoy the sort of Americans who aren't aficionados of British culture, but I'm not sure if they're the intended audience. Also, younger British people may well have watched enough American films and television that American turns of phrase come naturally to them. Any Brit of 30 or older, however, may be slightly jolted out of the willing-suspension-of-disbelief approximately once per page by the American usages (and let's face it, in this sort of fantasy-pastiche-comedy the w.s. of d. needs careful handling).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. G. Mabbitt on 12 Mar 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is good fun. I do not normally read science fiction but I enjoyed exploring some of the implications of time travel with Willis. It is a bit slow to get going and I nearly gave up a couple of times, but it is worth hanging in there as once it does get going it sweeps you on at a rollicking pace. I get the impression that Willis did some pretty extensive research into Victorian England, and on the whole it is convincing. At the same time I think some of the characters are stereotypical caricatures of the English as seen by Americans, but this is a humourous book so why not? Occasionally their language sounds more central USA than central England - such as Baine the butler using 'momentarily' to mean shortly, not the English usage of the word. Some of the antics of the animals are also a bit fanciful, but the story is probably more fun for it. On the whole a very enjoyable read that will certainly make me look out for more by Willis.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on 2 July 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
In the 2040s, time traveller Ned Henry has been charged with the unenviable task of helping to recreate old Coventry Cathedral, which was destroyed in the Blitz. He has to search for a bizarre object called the Bishop's Bird Stump, an ornately carved font, which is vital to the recreation of the cathedral. Complications arise when a fellow time traveller, Verity Kindle returns from the Victorian era inadvertently bringing a cat with her (cats are extinct in the 2040s).Ned has to jump back to Victorian times to help her put things right before history is irretrievably altered. Things get even more complicated when a charming but exasperating young Victorian lady called Tossie becomes engaged to the wrong person, and Ned and Verity have to try and get her matched up with the right one. But who is the right one? This book has a very complex and ingenious plot, interesting characters, and lots of humour. Will you guess the identity of Mr C before it is revealed? utterly gripping from beginning to end. i dropped my copy of this book in the bath and ruined it, I had to order another one, but it was well worth it. And I wish I had a Bishop's Bird Stump!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By humanitysdarkerside VINE VOICE on 17 Nov 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As Ned Henry is sent back to victorian times to right a wrong (one created by the people of the future), he is highly time-lagged. As the traits of the that time-lag include a tendency towards flowery speech and hearing impairment, it is felt that he will fit right in. At least there he will be able to recover from his all-too-many trips back into the past.
The nyiad of his heart Verity turns up there as well. Things could not have been better for good old Ned. But not so.
Connie Willis manages to enthrall her reader (ie myself) all the way through the book. This is not a high-action book with explosions and death on every page. Instead it manages to gently make fun of people in all eras. There is action and tension and that too is kept well within a gently comedic sphere.
I loved this book and have read it before. It was not lessened by a second reading, unlike too many of the other books that I have read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John Frank Herbert on 31 May 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
WHAT A HOOT!

Having read so many time travel novels I approached this comedy caper with more than a little trepidation.
No need.
What FUN! ....What LARKS!

Time travelling between the 1940's and the 21st century, backwards and forwards, is enough to send you giddy.

And the explanations of time incongruities and slippages will have you signing up for the funny farm!

But, HEY, it was a very entertaining read and the 1940's chit chat will have you in stitches.

What's it all about, you ask?
Alright, it's about Coventry Cathedral and rescuing the Bishop's Bird Stump from the Nazi air raid and .....oh, just go and read it .....and titter .....
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