Thursday, July 12, 2012
Book Review: To Say Nothing of the Dog
Time-traveler Ned Henry is in need of a rest. He's done too many time drops and is suffering from time-lag. He is brought back from his most recent drop (an assignment to find a hideous figure called the bishop's bird stump in Coventry Cathedral moments after an air raid) and stumbles upon information about an incongruity which threatens to destroy the space-time continuum. He is quickly sent back to Victorian England to fix the incongruity caused by the rescue of a drowning cat. This one simple action by a time-traveler has caused a variety of shifts in history. He must go back and attempt to return the cat and realign events in history. While he is there, he is supposed to receive his well-deserved rest and recuperation, but instead of growing closer to fixing the incongruity, it seems his efforts have only shifted events even further. Questions loom: will he discover the whereabouts of the bishop's bird stump (for the reconstruction of Coventry Cathedral in the present of 2057)? will they manage to fix the incongruity? will the right couple end up getting married? will he and his partner make it back to the present successfully? and will everything run amok because of the rescue of one drowning cat?
Although I had a hard time getting into this book, once I got to the point of the Victorian era, it was a joy to read. Plus, it was genuinely funny. I will be curious to see if others in our book club were tempted to give up on this book too soon. Plus, I wonder if, without a penchant for the Victorian era, others were not that interested in the events of the book. It did seem to take a while to get to the resolution (the book is over 400 pages!). Still, I'm glad to have read it and am looking forward to our discussion.