Synopses & Reviews
Dr. Alfred Jones is a henpecked, slightly pompous middle-aged scientist at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence in London when he is approached by a mysterious sheikh about an outlandish plan to introduce the sport of salmon fishing into the Yemen. Dr. Jones refuses, but the project, however scientifically absurd, catches the eye of British politicians, who pressure him to work on it. His diaries of the Yemen Salmon Project, from beginning to glorious, tragic end, form the narrative backbone of this novel; interspersed throughout are government memos, e-mails, letters, and interview transcripts that deftly capture the absurdity of bureaucratic dysfunction.With a wickedly wonderful cast of charactersincluding a weasel-like spin doctor, a missing soldier and his intrepid fiancée, and Dr. Joness own devilish wifeSalmon Fishing in the Yemen is the whimsical story of an unlikely hero who discovers true love, finds himself first a pawn and then a victim of political spin, and learns to believe in the impossible.
"Every so often a novel comes along that is quite original; think of Yann Martel's enchanting "Life of Pi"... [A] commentary on the value of belief to mankind. [T]hought-provoking and memorable." — The Economist
"[At] its heart is Jones's journey from skepticism to belief. — The New York Times
"Torday's clear talent is striking such a variety of notes, from soulful to satirical, and making them work as one bracing, bittersweet whole. — Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
"Paul Torday's debut novel is about an impossibility. It is also about belief in the impossible, and belief itself. And the remarkable thing is that a book about so deeply serious a matter can make you laugh... Salmon Fishing is extraordinary indeed, and a triumph. — The Guardian
What does it take to make us believe in the impossible?
For Dr. Alfred Jones, life is a quiet mixture of civil service at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence and marriage to Mary;an ambitious, no-nonsense financier. But a strange turn of fate from an unexpected direction forces Jones to upend his existence and spend all of his time in pursuit of another mans ludicrous dream. Can there be salmon in the Yemen? Science says no. But if resources are limitless and the visionary is inspired, maybe salmon fishing in the Yemen isn't impossible. Then again, maybe nothing is.
With a wickedly wonderful cast of characters, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is the whimsical story of an unlikely hero who discovers true love, finds himself first a pawn and then a victim of political spin, and learns to believe in the impossible.
A haunting, dazzling novel of obsession and addiction, loyalty and betrayaland, of course, fine wine Late one summer evening,Wilberforceyoung, rich, work-obsessed, and self-containedmakes an unexpected detour on the way home from work and unwittingly takes the first step on a journey that will change his life.
His uncharacteristically impulsive act leads him to the home of Francis Black, an eccentric and enigmatic wine merchant.
Wine and hospitality flow freely in Francis Blacks cellar, andWilberforce finds himself drawn into a life he never could have imagined. Infatuated by his newfound taste for fine wines, his new friends, and the woman whom he will eventually marry, he believes he has finally found happiness.
ButWilberforce will learn that the cellar holds some unpalatable secrets and that passion comes at a price. Chronicling the vintage years ofWilberforces life, Bordeaux is a haunting story of obsession and addiction, loyalty and betrayal.
About the Author
Paul Torday studied English literature at Pembroke College, Oxford, before embarking on a business career. He lives in Northumberland. This is his first book.
Table of Contents
1. The origins of the Yemen Salmon Project 1
2. Extracts from the diary of Dr Alfred Jones: his wedding anniversary 12
3. Feasibility of introducing salmon into the Yemen 34
4. Extracts from the diary of Dr Jones: his meeting with Sheikh Muhammad 43
5. Extracts from the diary of Dr Jones: marital issues may have clouded his judgement 63
6. Correspondence between Captain Robert Matthews and Ms Harriet Chetwode-Talbot 74
7. Press comment 87
8. Intercepts of al-Qaeda e-mail traffic 95
9. Interview with Peter Maxwell, director of communications, prime ministers office 99
10. Transcript of Interview with the prime minister, the Rt Hon. Jay Vent MP, on BBC1 The Politics Show 106
11. Continuation of interview with Peter Maxwell 111
12. E-mail correspondence between David Sugden, NCFE, and Mr Tom Price-Williams, head of fisheries, Environment Agency 119
13. Extract from the diary of Dr Jones: his return to Glen Tulloch 123
14. Interview with Dr Alfred Jones: his meeting with Mr Peter Maxwell and Sheikh Muhammad 133
15. Peter Maxwell is interviewed for the Time Off” column of the Sunday Telegraph, 4 September 150
16. Interview with Ms Harriet Chetwode-Talbot 156
17. Extract from Hansard 169
18. The termination of the employment contract of Dr Jones 176
19. Correspondence between Captain Robert Matthews and Ms Harriet Chetwode-Talbot 190
20. Intercepts of al-Qaeda email traffic 203
21. Extract from Hansard 207
22. Extracts from the diary of Dr Jones: he visits the Yemen 209
23. Extract from Hansard 232
24. Correspondence between Ms Chetwode-Talbot and herself 234
25. Extract from Peter Maxwells unpublished autobiography, A Helmsman at the Ship of State 239
26. Script of TV pilot for Prizes for the People 249
27. Extract from Peter Maxwells unpublished autobiography 256
28. Evidence of a marital crisis between Dr and Mrs Jones 262
29. Interview with Dr Alfred Jones: dinner at the Ritz 273
30. Dr Jones fails to find a date in his diary to meet Mrs Jones 293
31. Extract from Peter Maxwells unpublished autobiography 297
32. Dr Joness testimony of events that occurred
at the launch of the Yemen salmon project 313
33. Conclusions of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee 326
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN THE EXTRACTS 329