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To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis
To Say Nothing of the Dog
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To Say Nothing of the Dog is a science-fiction fantasy in the guise of an old-fashioned Victorian novel, complete with epigraphs, brief outlines, and a rather ugly boxer in three-quarters profile at the start of each chapter. Or is it a Victorian novel in the guise of a time-travelling tale,... show more
To Say Nothing of the Dog is a science-fiction fantasy in the guise of an old-fashioned Victorian novel, complete with epigraphs, brief outlines, and a rather ugly boxer in three-quarters profile at the start of each chapter. Or is it a Victorian novel in the guise of a time-travelling tale, or a highly comic romp, or a great, allusive literary game, complete with spry references to Dorothy L. Sayers, Wilkie Collins, and Arthur Conan Doyle? Its title is the subtitle of Jerome K. Jerome's singular, and hilarious, Three Men in a Boat. In one scene the hero, Ned Henry, and his friends come upon Jerome, two men, and the dog Montmorency in--you guessed it--a boat. Jerome will later immortalise Ned's fumbling. (Or, more accurately, Jerome will earlier immortalise Ned's fumbling, because Ned is from the 21st century and Jerome from the 19th.) What Connie Willis soon makes clear is that genre can go to the dogs. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a fine, and fun, romance--an amused examination of conceptions and misconceptions about other eras, other people. When we first meet Ned, in 1940, he and five other time jumpers are searching bombed-out Coventry Cathedral for the bishop's bird stump, an object about which neither he nor the reader will be clear for hundreds of pages. All he knows is that if they don't find it, the powerful Lady Schrapnell will keep sending them back in time, again and again and again. Once he's been whisked through the rather quaint Net back to the Oxford future, Ned is in a state of super time-lag. The only way Ned can get the necessary two weeks' R and R is to perform one more drop and recuperate in the past, away from Lady Schrapnell. Once he returns something to someone (he's too exhausted to understand what or to whom) on June 7, 1888, he's free. Willis is concerned, however, as is her confused character, with getting Victoriana right, and Ned makes a good amateur anthropologist--entering one crowded room, he realises that "the reason Victorian society was so restricted and repressed was that it was impossible to move without knocking something over." Though he's still not sure what he's supposed to bring back, various of his confederates keep popping back to set him to rights. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a shaggy-dog tale complete with a preternaturally quiet, time-travelling cat, Princess Arjumand, who might well be the cause of some serious temporal incongruities--for even a mouser might change the course of European history. In the end, readers might well be more interested in Ned's romance with a fellow historian than in the bishop's bird stump, and who will not rejoice in their first Net kiss, which lasts 169 years! --Amazon.com
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Format: paperback
ISBN: 9780575113121 (057511312X)
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages no: 528
Edition language: English
Series: Oxford Time Travel (#2)
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Community Reviews
Thoughts of a nerdy feminist
Thoughts of a nerdy feminist rated it
3.5 In a way, it's Shakespearean
I had a lot of fun reading this one. It did initially take some time for me to get into it. The start was slow, although I did find the unreliable narration from the confused main character fairly amusing. By the time I was about twenty percent of the way through, I was thoroughly enjoying thi...
The Caffeinated Bibliophile
The Caffeinated Bibliophile rated it
5.0 To Say Nothing of the Dog
Clever! Going to pick up the rest of the series at some point. Also I think I picked the perfect time to read the book, the dates have amused me no end.
Listening to the Silence
Listening to the Silence rated it
3.0 To Say Nothing of the Dog
Ned Henry is exhausted and overworked, suffering severe time-lag. In order to escape a very demanding Lady Schrappnel and the assignment that has her running roughshod over all the historians, he is sent back to the Victorian era for two weeks rest. He just has to fix one teeny tiny incongruity firs...
Farnaz
Farnaz rated it
4.0 To Say Nothing of the Dog
The First thing that pleased me very much and I’m sure will please you while reading is that events and dialogues are rendered with a good humor. The Second is the time travelling. Oh yes, I do love humor and time travel SF. And here, it’s 2 in 1 :D. Main personages, Verity Kindle and Henry Ned voy...
Kaethe
Kaethe rated it
5.0 To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis
I read it again, and I loved it. this is definitely a comfort read for me. Ah, the madcap chaos of it all. The naughty cat, the charming Cyril, the annoying people. Total love.***Speaking of books I love, down to every last detail, this is on the short list. The Chapter headings! The Tennyson quotes...
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