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To Say Nothing of the Dog Hardcover – December 1, 1998
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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The other thing to note about this book is that although it's technically sci-fi (the fluffiest and lightest of hand-wavy science sci-fi), the sci-fi/futuristic aspects are used mostly as a framing device. The majority of the book ends up being set in Victorian England around 1880, taking up such activities as a boating vacation on the Thames, dealing with a fishing-addicted history Professor, trying to save a cat from being drowned by a possibly nefarious butler, trying to prevent the wrong couple from getting married, and tracking down the bishop's bird stump. It's basically historical romance wrapped up with a sci-fi bow. Luckily I love both those things!
This is one of her "time travel" historical / science fiction novels and it picks up where DOOMSDAY BOOK leaves off. In this book we are introduced to a group of Historian/Scientists who are delving into the infancy of time travel. They are exploring the possibilities of time travel when it comes to replacing priceless works of art that have been lost, or being able to restore animal species that have gone extinct. They are also coming to terms with the dangers of time travel. All while living a first-hand experience of a place and time that has gone almost 150 years into the past.
Unlike the deeply serious subject matter of DOOMSDAY BOOK and BLACKOUT / ALL CLEAR, the very witty TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG is a lighthearted story that pays homage to Jerome K Jerome's classic comedy/travel guide, THREE MEN IN A BOAT. Our two time-travelling Historian / Scientists wing their way back in time to the Victorian era to find a lost treasure and solve a historical mystery. Along the way they find themselves in all sorts of scrapes and also they find that a "spark" might be igniting between them.
Will they ever find the Bishop's Bird Stump that was lost to history? Will they find True Love? What did the Butler do? Will people in the second half of the 21st century ever know the joy of having pet cats? Just read the book to find out! ;-)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This is a time travel book, and although I'm not a big SciFi/time travel reader, I loved this one. Once again, there are three men in a boat, to say nothing of the dog, in Victorian England, mostly. There is a cathedral to be rebuilt, and the Bishop's Bird Stump to be found, and a taskmaster who insists that everything be done NOW, no matter how much time travel is required.
It did take me a few pages to get into the travel thing, to understand what was going on, and there was, to my taste, a little too much about time travel slippage. However, the characters are funny and endearing, and travel along the Thames brings adventures, often rather soggy ones. The dog and the cat in this story are wonderful. Altogether, a delightful story.