Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” as Want to Read:
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  7,357 ratings  ·  1,065 reviews
DEBUT FICTION

UK BESTSELLER

What does it take to make us believe in the impossible?

For Dr. Alfred Jones, life is a quiet mixture of civil service at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence and marriage to Mary—an ambitious, no-nonsense financier. But a strange turn of fate from an unexpected direction forces Jones to upend his existence and spend all of his time in purs
...more
Paperback, 333 pages
Published April 21st 2008 by Mariner Books (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Rose
The book got off to an interesting start, and held my attention, but I found it, ultimately, disappointing. Its biggest weakness was its lack of subtlety. For me, satire relies on an insidious subtlety that helps to separate it from outright farce. In this case, the satire would have been much more effective if it hadn't been applied so thickly. Some characters, especially Mary, never seem to be real people and are more like cartoon characters or pantomime dames - overdrawn and 2D, with their fa ...more
Kathryn
This was a great read! One of those books that is a good story right from the start. I was initially a bit surprised to see that the story was told through a collection of correspondence, diary entries, government documents, interviews and so on and this made me a little uncertain about this book, but that didn't last any longer than a couple of pages. I don't know why I was unsure about the format at first, as it reminded me a bit of 84, Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey Literary and Potato P ...more
Mal Warwick
You know this, right? Yemen, previously called “The Yemen,” lies on the fringe of the Arabian Peninsula as is best known today as a world-class producer of sand, desert heat, and political violence. Salmon are, of course, cold-water fish that are challenging to catch with a rod and reel but taste all the better once caught. So, we’re on the same page, yes?

Now consider the chances of finding a novel that adroitly mixes not just Yemen and salmon fishing but also the British Parliament, Al Qaeda, a
...more
K
Meh. I guess I'll give this a three. It was okay I guess. But I didn't love it.

Maybe it's a function of the ADD/internet-addled generation, but the new epistolary novel seems to be a pastiche of e-mails, interviews, memos, etc., all of which are far more informative and lyrical than actual e-mails, interviews, and memos would be in real life. After tolerating this style in Where'd You Go, Bernadette and The Lawgiver, it's getting old for me and was a bit of a turnoff in Salmon Fishing in the Yem
...more
Claire Corbett
If I could give this book minus 10 stars, I would. Really hated this - meretricious sexist facile rubbish. The wife is a lazy stereotype, a cliched nag, the new girl smells like 'peaches.' Let's destroy the environment while having a bit of 'faith'. 'Faith' in the sense of not questioning, not using your intelligence. 'Faith' in the sheikh spending millions of pounds which belong to the people of the Yemen to fulfill his extravagant, trivial and ultimately cruel desires? Ugh ugh ugh. Exactly wha ...more
Nigel
A light enjoyable read that is easily devoured in a few sittings. It's a quirkily impressive debut novel from a 60 year old engineer/fisherman! It is laced with humour and optimism as well as taking a satirical swipe at Yes Ministering and spin doctoring. The format of diary extracts, emails, interviews and articles is used throughout to good effect to flesh out the story and main characters who are largely sympathetically drawn, though the machinations of the the PM's Director of Communications ...more
Connie  Kuntz
I want to say something about adult conversation: I hate it. I hate the mind-games, the war words, the power struggles. I am fully aware of the fact that there is a lucrative quality to adult conversation, but I would rather be poor.

Now I want to say something about this book: I loved it, and it is about adult conversation. In fact, it is nothing but adult conversation. And even though I hate adult conversation, I loved every page of this book. I found it to be hilarious, compelling, political,
...more
Harsha Priolkar
A fascinating tale of dreams and how they can sometimes consume us but most often will set us free, if only we let them!

So we meet Dr. Jones, a gentleman academic and scientist married to an obnoxious woman (I hate to say this about any woman, even a fictional one, but she is really just awful), who is thrust headfirst into a bizarre project at the whim of a wealthy sheikh. The sheikh who is a visionary, a wise man and a keen salmon fishing enthusiast (a potent combination), dreams of seeing sal
...more
Hudson
Actual rating 3.5*

I would have rated this book a four but I did not really care much for the ending. It seemed to leap out at me rather quickly and then conclude in an uneasy fashion. The writing was really good and I thought the idea was pretty original (salmon fishing in Yemen? Absurd!!) I also really liked some of the characters: the scientist’s ultra dull wife and the British politician were very well done. This book is told from a lot of different points of views, from diaries and journals,
...more
Pris robichaud

he Fisherman's Chant, Impossibility and Belief, August 23, 2007
4.5 stars

The Fisherman's chant
Rod/reel,Flask/creel, Net/fly book/, And lunch!

"Paul Torday's debut novel is about an impossibility. It is also about belief in the impossible, and belief itself. And the remarkable thing is that a book about so deeply serious a matter can make you laugh, all the way to a last twist that's as sudden and shocking as a barbed hook"
Tim MacIntosh-Smith

Jay Vent, the British prime minister, has his count
...more
Marina
I really liked that book, but (and maybe that's because I read it after watching the film) I have a (wee) problem with the ending. Being the rest of the novel so cynical, surely a spark of hope at the end wouldn't be too much to ask?

The format of the novel is clever and entertaining (although I enjoyed some bits more than others, of course, my favourite bits being Fred's diary), and it makes the irony of it all even more obvious. Because what Salmon Fishin in the Yemen does is to point out all (
...more
Sarah Dorra
A very good book, indeed. But what's best about it is not the plot but the fact that Torday knows both cultures, his British culture as well as the Middle Eastern culture (though I have to add that a few aspects are not correctly portrayed), very well.

I do like the personae of Sheikh Muhammad. He represents us when it comes to faith and belief: 'We believe that faith is the cure that heals all troubles.' However, he does not represent us when it comes to drinking wine, which is one of the terrib
...more
Forbular
Im not trying to convince anyone that this is a great piece of classical literature some of the charactrs are steriotypes, infact most of them in truth but it was witty engaging and fun and i loved some of the things it said about the middle east as its too often protrayed as a country of sexist terrorists by the tabloids.

I loved:
The seikh (sorry i cant remember how to spell that)
Collin the gilly (reminds me of a gilly i know)
The email & diary format was fun and quirky
The absurdity
Alfre
...more
John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shutterbug_iconium
Jun 28, 2012 Shutterbug_iconium rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shutterbug_iconium by: A great friend
“Samon Fishing in the Yemen.” was a quick read. I sort of liked it but I just thought it could have been so much better. I have just ambivalent feelings about this book.
I will just number what I thought.
1. Some characters, specifically Mary, did not seem to be real people to me either. I can understand why a woman can be so single-mindedly career-driven but Mary was just a cardboard cutout that I think Paul Torday wanted us to hate her. The sheikh character sounds like an overdrawn picture of a
...more
Trish
Where was I when this came out in 2007? When I discovered this title recently in someone else’s TBR list, I immediately added to my own. The novel is an absurdist romp with a heart of gold (and romance). I belly-laughed through the first bits, looked askance at the portion where the Prime Minister’s aide imagines a quiz show in Pakistan, and couldn’t wait to find out the result of the ridiculous, bound-to-fail salmon fishery in Yemen. I wanted to believe, as the sheik says.

This worthy novel has
...more
Laura
This is an odd book. The premise is wonderful: a middle-aged male scientist is approached by a young-ish woman to help a Yemeni sheihk develop a salmon fishing experience for his countrymen. Add the lovely thoughts that it would be a miracle to bring this scenario to the Middle East. A miracle of science - but also a miracle of faith. I loved the main characters - genuine, well-developed, worthy of reflection. Beyond this, though, things get out-of-joint.

I think the author meant to highlight the
...more
Jon
I saw the movie a month or so ago, and thought it was OK, mostly because of very good performances from the lead actors. I then read a review criticizing it for very heavy-handed satire, unlike the light satire of the book, which was very popular in England but never caught on the US. So I thought I'd give the book a try. As far as satire goes, the movie was at least as good as the book, which contains many pages of memos, emails, and transcripts of parliamentary proceedings, all of which pall v ...more
Clare Cannon
A lightly satirical novel about a rational scientist who unwillingly gets involved in an absurd fishing project at the request of the British Prime Minister. This project brings him into contact with a sheikh from Yemen whose simple, faith-inspired wisdom gradually melts the scientist's attitude.

However it is not a book to answer the questions it raises by pointing in any one direction, it only effectively stirs up thought about things which are complacently taken for granted in the western worl
...more
Sasha
When Alfred Jones receives a letter from a real estate firm asking him to offer suggestions on how salmon fishing can be introduced in the Yemen, he rubbishes it. And so does the reader. Over the first thirty to forty pages of the book tremendous forces come together to make him acknowledge that yes, salmon can be introduced into the wadis of the Yemen. And that the man behind this astoundingly impossible suggestion, Sheikh Abdullah, might have a point.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen is Paul Torday
...more
Rebecca
I thought it was interesting to learn the story from the different perspectives of the various characters and I liked the cross-cutting effect when the reader was not aware of events that had happened until they were filled in by Dr Jones' interrogation.

I'm glad that Fred and Harriet didn't get together because that would have been of detriment to the sentimentalilty of the meaning of the Salmon Project itself (belief in the impossible) because this meaning would have been utterly overshadowed
...more
Debra
2.5 - 3 stars

After struggling to get through the first few chapters, this book turned out to be a quick read that unfortunately didn't completely satisfy.

Told from several points of view through emails, diary entries and transcripts of hearings and interviews, there are several connected story lines that touch on faith, politics, bureaucracy, war and love, but ultimately none of them ever take center stage. I found myself skimming through many of the technical fishing discussions and never rea
...more
Katie T
There were parts of this novel I liked - I thought the satire of bureaucratic pseudo-politeness was pretty funny, and I found the discussion of faith a little underdeveloped, but still interesting.

The female characters kind of killed it for me, though. Alfred's wife just seemed like a lazy cliche - I couldn't find her believable in the least. It seemed like she was being used mainly so we felt less guilty about wanting Alfred to get together with Harriet, who in turn also seemed to be being set-
...more
Hayes
Another brilliant book from my buddies at Bookcrossing. 4 or 5 stars... not quite sure. RTF 4.5 stars

A boring English scientist who works as a civil servant for the Department of Fisheries (or something), his power-hungry wife, a filthy rich (but spiritual) Arab businessman and his personal assistant make for a bizarre cast of characters in this lovely story, presented through diary entries, emails, text messages, etc.

Absolutely charming. Highly recommended.


Read and Release at BookCrossing.com...
Bookhuw
There's something of an old-fashioned feel to this light satire, but that adds to the charm. The cast of characters is skilfully handled, with each character having authentically different personalities, and the frequent switches in narration and perspective keep it feeling fresh. The caricature of the Blairites isn't subtle admittedly, and in places the farce stretches credibility a little too much, but this book is clearly supposed to be a bit of fun. The ending might feel as though proceeding ...more
Amy Jane
Salmon. This book is about salmon. If you are interested in salmon you will like it. If not, then don't read it. I am not at all interested in salmon (unless in the form of a fish cake) but I had to read it for a book club. I knew before I had started it that I wouldn't enjoy it. The one star reflects that it wasn't exactly a badly written book, and that some may find the 'wit' and stereotypical characters amusing. However the attempt at a storyline, other than salmon fishing in the Yemen, faile ...more
Gandré
Apr 14, 2014 Gandré rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a crazy person
Shelves: meh
People told me this book would be an ever deep well of inspiration. I'm seriously contemplating re-evaluating whom I take advice on book choices from. I suppose this book would inspire awe or inspiration if one were an ambition-less, goal-less spineless person, sure. The amount of skill required to compile such a fable is minute at most, the writing is pastiche of a shopping list my younger sister once wrote, years ago.
Other than this being a nice story about a man with so little self-respect t
...more
Lois
This book began boringly, but finished on a relatively high note.

I had to read it for bookclub. It's not a book I would have chosen to read. I find that titles can pull me in with mystery or humour or even a key word that suggests at something exciting within.

The word in the title that I found drew me most to this book was the word "The". So not the most promising start.

Fred Jones didn't help much in the beginning. He was henpecked, somewhat arrogant - but not enough to be strong in character -
...more
Sandra Grauschopf
Told through a series of diary entries, book excerpts, and newspaper reports, this is the story of a sheikh who wants to perform a miracle - to see salmon spawn in the mountains of Yemen, to bring together the disparate tribes of the country in a love of fishing, and to teach his countrymen patience. This despite the fact that salmon love cold, clear waters, and Yemen is a desert.

To help in this task, the sheikh brings on board Dr. Alfred Jones, a fishery scientist with no beliefs to speak of. A
...more
harryknuckles
I have just finished reading this book.

I was hooked from the first page! The novel concerns itself with an intelligent, hen-pecked scientist and his growing passion for what at first appears impossible and mad.

The style in which this story is presented is very interesting - using diaries, interviews, emails and letters. It intrigues me and I found that the continual change of pace and point of view dragged me more and more into the story.

Also, the correspondence between our hero (if that's wh
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookish Friends: Photos of Yemen in 2007 3 10 Jun 26, 2013 08:00PM  
FABC Cultural Awa...: First online discussion question 5 13 Oct 05, 2012 03:25AM  
  • American Beauty: The Shooting Script
  • The Thornthwaite Inheritance
  • Notwithstanding
  • The Story of Us
  • The Testament of Gideon Mack
  • The Conjurer's Bird
  • Summer's Lease
  • Everybody Jam
  • Spies
  • The Pirate's Daughter
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Notes from an Exhibition
  • Apocalypse for Beginners
  • The Soul's Religion: Cultivating a Profoundly Spiritual Way of Life
  • Iris And Ruby
  • Dark Palace
  • Sarah Thornhill
  • Slow Homecoming
The Girl On The Landing The Irresistible Inheritance Of Wilberforce The Hopeless Life Of Charlie Summers More Than You Can Say The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall

Share This Book

“Faith is the cure that heals all troubles. Without faith there is no hope and no love. Faith comes before hope, and before love. (Sheikh Muhammad ibn Zaidi bani Tihama)” 27 likes
“It would be so good to settle down and become part of somewhere again, instead of constantly passing through” 13 likes
More quotes…