Jeff's Reviews > Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
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's review
Jul 14, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, 4-nate
Recommended for: fans of Douglas Adams
Read from June 04 to 08, 2014 , read count: 3

After reading Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, i needed to confirm that i prefer Douglas Adams’s sense of humor. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is not only much funnier but it also shows Adams to be a far more skilled writer. (I probably shouldn’t be so judgy: maybe Pratchett’s later novels are better.)

So what’s DGHDA like then? It tickles your brains and your gut. Trust that the vagueness of the first several chapters will payoff. For fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide Series, Richard MacDuff is sort of our Arthur Dent and Dirk is Ford Prefectlike, but we don’t get to meet him til almost the midpoint. Don’t worry. That’s another of the many slow-burns.
Remain patient. The plot also does a slow burn. Things happen but nothing seems connected. Many things seem completely senseless. These are what we in the private detecting business call “clues.” Pay attention for anything that strikes you as odd. It’ll relate to the denouement.

Speaking of which, i believe that to understand this book's resolution requires at least 3 things: attention to detail, familiarity with Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poems Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and historical knowledge about how Coleridge composed the former.

I met none of these requirements when i first read Dirk Gently and i have only some familiarity with the poems during this reread. But i rated it 5 stars? Well, when i first joined Goodreads, my memory must've selectively contained only how much Adams's sense of humor entertains me and i must’ve forgot how intellectually upsetting it was to romp through this comic novel only to discover that i didn't get the ending.

Upon rereading it, as an adult, i couldn’t live with all my questions. I had to find answers. Where better to look than the Internets for more careful, attentive, educated readers than i, right? I found at least one real good one and now i can enjoy it fully, with my brain and my gut.

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