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
Open Preview

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  12,904 ratings  ·  1,523 reviews
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 pursuit of another man’s
Paperback, 329 pages
Published 2007 by Phoenix
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rachel Well as the name suggests, it is actually about introducing Salmon fishing in the Yemen. It is an incredulous idea that a certain fisheries scientist…moreWell as the name suggests, it is actually about introducing Salmon fishing in the Yemen. It is an incredulous idea that a certain fisheries scientist tries to bring to life. It is a great read :)(less)
A Passage to India by E.M. ForsterMurder in Mesopotamia by Agatha ChristieJamaica Inn by Daphne du MaurierHamlet, Prince of Denmark by William ShakespeareCongo by Michael Crichton
410 books — 167 voters
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VerneThe Old Man and the Sea by Ernest HemingwayTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonLife of Pi by Yann MartelThe Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Oceans, Water, Ice
559 books — 141 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,904 ratings  ·  1,523 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Jan 30, 2008 added it
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 ...more
An absolute delightful parody/satire on politics, power and unlimited sources of money. An epistolary tale with high drama woven into the plot. I loved this relaxing read!

RECOMMENDED to lovers of British novels and everyone else who would enjoy the beautiful scenery of Yemen, and the intrigue behind belief of any kind.

The book won a Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comedy in 2007. Well deserved.
Claire Corbett
Mar 22, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short Review

Eccentric, rich Arab sheikh employs diffident English scientist in impossible project and all goes to hell on a handcart, while the nincompoops in the parliament keep on debating endlessly.

Long Review

The impossibly high profit margins in the oil business have made the Gulf countries a tad careless about money – so they think up projects left and right, and employ consultants to consider the feasibility. For the said consultants – mostly from the West
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is an excellent book, original, intriguing and for the most part very engaging, although sometimes it seemed to get repetitive.
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 ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk, 2018, yemen
Enjoyed this much more than i was expecting.

Loved having the story told through the format of emails, diary entries, interviews & articles.

Want to see the film now.

Easy short chapters, interesting characters and plenty comic relief.
Mal Warwick
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: trade-fiction
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,
Connie  Kuntz
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Well, having salmon introduced in the Yemeni waters is the least of the preposterous going-ons in this book. Where to start? It could have been a sweet story but the characters are not up to scratch - I found the politicians too inept to be true for example - and the epistolary style is full of unconvincing moments, and what about that ending, lol. Disappointing.
Dec 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
Holy boring drivel, Batman!

Seriously, this book is boooooooring. I can see what Torday was going for, and there was clearly a great deal of research that went into the writing of 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen'. But unfortunately a well-researched subject matter and good literary intentions do not, a good novel, make.

His mish-mash of formats was, I believe, intended to liven up the story somewhat, and keep the reader interested by constantly changing the narrative voice. A good plan in theory,
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to K by: Mintzis
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
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
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rusalka by: Dad
My Dad read a lot. But he read things you could learn stuff from (gardening, wildlife, natural history, woodworking, diy, history, military, politics, etc books) or biographies/autobiographies of sportsmen or military persons. So much so that when he passed away and my Mum came with us to his flat, she remarked that copy of The Bourne Identity was the first novel she had ever seen in his possession. And she had been married to the man for 15 years at one time.

So that being said, the only novel
Harsha Priolkar
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Jun 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2014 rated it liked it
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,
Dec 31, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyable read, I liked the development of the main characters to understanding their motivation to beinvolved in the title project.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, read-2012, politics
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 have been too much to ask?

The format of the novel is clever and entertaining (although I enjoyed some bits more than others, of course, my favourites being Fred's diary entries), and it makes the irony of it all even more obvious. Because what Salmon Fishing in the Yemen does is to
Sarah Dorra
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
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
Sep 15, 2017 added it
This came up in an article yesterday, and I said to myself, Hang on -- I might have read that??

Yes, yes, I had. And forgotten completely that I had read it. Everything about it -- characters, plot, the works. Which is not something I've ever done with a book before. So: ultimately forgettable? I can't tell you anything more, as it apparently did not elicit any emotions/memory/response.

But adding so if I'm ever tempted to pick it up again, I can read this review.
Kathleen Valerio
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Slow start - satisfying storyline on all levels.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
What nonsense
Elizabeth Best
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice, easy read. It's written as a collection of diary entries, letters and emails etc.
Pris robichaud
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing

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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
  • Der Planet Trillaphon im Verhältnis zur Üblen Sache
  • A Short History of Brexit: From Brentry to Backstop (Pelican Books)
  • Mr. Macgregor
  • The Outcast
  • City of God
  • The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
  • American Beauty: The Shooting Script
  • Surviving With Wolves
  • de Bono's Thinking Course
  • Do Listen: Understand what's really being said. Find a new way forward. (Listening Book, Mindfulness Books, Self Growth Books)
  • Die Herrlichkeit des Lebens
  • Should Robots Replace Teachers?: AI and the Future of Education
  • The Gospel of Judas
  • The Vacillations Of Poppy Carew
  • Blue Wolf in Green Fire (Woods Cop, #2)
  • The Mystery of Everett Ruess
  • North Slope
See similar books…
Paul Torday burst on to the literary scene in 2007 with his first novel, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, an immediate international bestseller that has been translated into 28 languages and has been made into a film starring Ewan McGregor, Kristin Scott Thomas and Emily Blunt. His subsequent novels, THE IRRESISTIBLE INHERITANCE OF WILBERFORCE, THE GIRL ON THE LANDING, THE HOPELESS LIFE OF CHARLIE ...more
“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)” 32 likes
“It would be so good to settle down and become part of somewhere again, instead of constantly passing through” 19 likes
More quotes…