Sunday, 5 August 2007

Book of the week

One of my favourite radio slots is Simon Mayo's book review on Radio 5 on Thursday afternoons. Earlier this year his reviewers raved about "Salmon Fishing in The Yemen", the debut novel by Paul Torday. I spotted it on Waterston's shelves as I was looking for books to take on holiday to Egypt next week and bought it as part of a 3 for 2.

Unfortunately, it'll be finished before then, as I just had to read it now. It is quite superb, and for us politicos, its satirical treatment of the Blair-Campbell era, government bureaucracy and UK-Middle East relations gives this hilarious book its edge.

A quiet, unassuming government scientist and fisheries expert, Dr Alfred Jones, is persuaded by his political masters to lead a project to bring salmon fishing to the wadis of The Yemen. His quest to achieve the seemingly impossible, and the pathos of his relationships with the two women in his life, provides the perfect, if unusual, setting for this feelgood comedy - and it doesn't weigh as much as Alistair Campbell's Diaries!

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