Review: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

This book was so “meh” to me. I don’t really know how else to describe it. The premise didn’t strike me as anything that great, but because it was turned into a movie and had gotten quite a bit of praise I decided to give it a read. There wasn’t really one thing I liked about the plot or the characters. And if you’ve read my other posts you’ll know that I don’t feel that I have to like plots or characters all that much to enjoy a book, sometimes it’s enough for a book to just be well-written. But this book felt like it was past redemption. I don’t mean to rag on this book because it wasn’t horrendous, I just really didn’t like it and couldn’t see past all the cliches and stereotypes. The main character Fred is tedious, boring, unsatisfied but unwilling to change, stubborn, and just unenjoyable as a perspective. Then we have his wife – the work obsessed nag who overlooks her husband and takes her marriage for granted. Fred’s boss and the political people involved in the plot to introduce salmon fishing into the Yemen by a rich sheikh are all stupid and self-centred, pushing for something that probably won’t work, could have disastrous effects, and look bad to the public in a time where budgets have been cut and there is tension with the middle east. And the Sheikh… “have faith”, “you just have to believe”, it was too much. All these tired cliches with a mildly intriguing, but over the course of the story proved boring, plot. The only character that I enjoyed was Harriet. She was someone who had to work with Fred to work out the logistics of the plan. I could have gotten over the plot if it wasn’t so boring. The format was a bit different from a normal novel; there was diary entries, emails, letters, and court/interview recordings. That could have been cool, but to me it wasn’t. Not with how the whole thing came together. It just struck me as a bit of a fail, which is why I’m so surprised it was made into a movie. I won’t say that I hated this book, but I really would not recommend it to anyone.


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