Friday, February 26, 2010

To Say Nothing of the Dog

To Say Nothing of the Dog To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Awards: Hugo Award; Locus Award; Alex Award; Nebula nominee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this book was funny when I was reading it. But then my book club got together last night to discuss it and it was downright hilarious. There is so much about this book to discuss, if nothing else but to relive favorite wacky moments of Ned and Verity, time travelers in Victorian England. This book combines a little mystery, history, romance, and mind-bending time travel in a way I won't soon forget.

It's the year 2057 and Ned Henry is suffering from time-lag. He's has too many time travel drops and he's exhausted and can't think straight. His boss, Mr. Dunworthy, sends him back to 1888 to escape the wrath of Lady Schrapnell who wants Ned to find the Bishop's Bird Stump (a horrifically gaudy vase that disappeared during a bombing raid in WWII). When Ned lands in 1888, despite the fact that he really needs to rest, he's thrown into an incongruity in time that he and his partner Verity need to correct before there are disastrous historical consequences.

This is an incredibly well-written book. Willis tackles some great themes including social change, cultural identities, and free will vs. determinism with quirky and entertaining characters. The only reason I didn't give this clever book five stars is that the plot moves a little slow in parts and it took me awhile to really get invested in the story. But once I finished the whole book, I understood why all the bits and pieces were there and I had a lot to think about. I can see where this book might not have universal appeal, but I definitely recommend this one for lovers of all things British and literary. This is one of the most unique books I've ever read.

Also reviewed by:
Book 17 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge
Book 9 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 7 of 10 for the Book Awards IV Challenge

Source: Borrowed


Heather said...

I'm definitely adding this one to my TBR list, especially since I read Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog just last year and really enjoyed it (for the most part). I'd love to compare them.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I'm making a note of this one. I love the time periods you mentioned and I am surprisingly fond of travel books.

Beth F said...

Wasn't this one great! I keep meaning to read more Willis.

bermudaonion said...

I haven't read many time travel books but this one sure does sound good!

Melissa said...

Ah, one of my favorite Connie Willis books! I need to reread it, so I have a decent review up on my blog. So glad you enjoyed it. You do need to read Doomsday Book now -- not as funny, but still incredible.

Kim said...

This sounds great! The best thing about book blogs is discovering new books that would have never crossed your path otherwise. Thanks so much.

Corinne said...

THANK YOU for something new to put on my list - I've never heard of it :)

Danielle said...

I can't wait to read this and have it at the top of my TBR pile! I wasn't familiar with her until I saw a new book coming out on my library's new book list. I put my name in for it but as there is a line I have to wait so decided to see what else she has in the interim. My library had To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I promptly borrowed (have since bought), but then I was told it spoofs Jerome K Jerome's book Three Me in a Boat and everyone suggested reading that first, which I did. So now I am finally ready to pick this one up. So, all this to say, yes, this sounds really good and I can't wait to read it--and am happy to hear it's as funny as I've been told!