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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

cover of To Say Nothing of the Dog

One of my favorite books ever. Willis is brilliant, writing a book with time travel, history, romance, mystery, and comedy. Ned and Verity are both time travelers from the 21st century, doing research for a big project that is taking place in their present. This research involves living in the 1940s, and they get caught up in all sorts of adventures. The book has strong connections with Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To say Nothing of the Dog) as evidenced by the title, as well certain structures and characters. The Victorian Era has enough structures in place that makes for some wonderful comedy, jokes, and awkward moments, which Willis makes the most of.

At the same time Ned and Verity are traveling between past and present, the people in the present are discovering new things about 'The Net' (their method of time travel to the past), with some wonderful far reaching ideas. Nothing is as simple as originally hoped, because everything is connected. 'The Net' or time-space continuum has a mind of its own, in that it fixes problems and changes history so that the future isn't affected, but time travelers don't know what things are changing or why, or how to help the situation. In fact, they may think they are helping when really they are doing no such thing.

The Bishop's bird stump is also a main player, funny as that may sound. It is hideous. During Victorian times, certain things were 'beautiful' or at least attractive to someone with good taste... but not in the present. The idea of something so ugly having importance and affecting so many lives (for good or ill) is interesting. I'd like to think that my life is affected by beauty and light and life, but sometimes the opposite of those also has a strong impact. Lives can also be changed for the better in reaction to things which are ugly or dark or lifeless. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

Title:To Say Nothing of the Dog, or, How we found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last
Author: Connie Willis
Date published:1998
Genre:Science Fiction
Number of pages:493
Notes: Read this out loud as a family a few years ago.


Lark said...

Such a great book... Makes me want to read it again sometime soon. I think this one is worth reading every year or so.

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