8 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A good idea, ruined by an obsession with political spin,
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This review is from: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Hardcover)
The central premise of this book is amusing, and at times inspiring. The author's genuine love of salmon fishing and the countryside is vividly expressed. He may even have convinced me not to eat farmed salmon with a heart-rending depiction of a visit to a salmon farm. By far the best parts are extracts from the jornal of the diffident scientist who gets carried away by the romanticism and ambition of the Yemen project. However, the author ambitiously introduces several other narrative voices, which he largely fails to make distinct and believable. The book would I think have been better without this structural cleverness.
But it is when the author strays from the territory he clearly knows so well that this book really falls flat. The attempt to turn a whimsical fancy into a commentary on spin and the practice of government-by-headlines is perhaps understandable in commercial terms, but he has little that is interesting or original to say about this. All of the political characters are crude caricatures, and their interactions are not remotely believable. Much of this part of the book could have been improved by a little more research, or a diligent editor (for example the woodenness of the "interrogation" scenes towards the end), but the central problem is that the author deserts any attempt at plot or characterisation.