Monday, 15 April 2013

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

When he is asked to become involved in a project to create a salmon river in the highlands of the Yemen, fisheries scientist Dr Alfred Jones rejects the idea as absurd. But the proposal catches the eye of several senior British politicians.
Fred then finds himself forced to work with the eccentric Sheikh Muhammad and his beautiful assistant Harriet. And there's the small matter of figuring out how to fly ten thousand salmon to a desert country - and persuade them to swim there ...

First Sentence:
15 May

Dear Dr Jones
We have been referred to you by Peter Sullivan at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Directorate for Middle East and North Africa).

I didn't know this had been a book before watching the movie. On opening the book I found scenes that seemed to have been taken out of the novel and written in to the book. I like when a movie is true to the book so this made me so happy and excited to read on.
The story is told through letters, interviews and other documentation. For some this might put people off but for me it was a pleasant reminder of 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' which I also enjoyed.
The character Fred starts off quite wooden and matter of fact but as the novel progresses and he spends more time with the Sheikh he becomes more eloquent on belief and more open. I found some of his diary entries so thought provoking, they were a pleasure to read.
One such quote:
'That is why some of our people hate the West so much. They wonder what the West has to offer that is so compelling that it must be imposed upon us, replacing our religion of God with the religion of money, replacing our piety and our poverty with consumer goods that we do not need, forcing money upon us that we cannot spend or if we do, cannot repay, loosening the ties that hold together families and tribes, corroding our faith, corroding our morality.'
As much as I loved the journey, I was disappointed with the ending. It doesn't end the same way as the movie. I think I would still have been disappointed with the ending had I not seen the movie first but the fact that I had and was expecting a different ending made the disappointment twice as bad.
Three stars, because I liked the journey but disliked the end.

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