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Audiobook Review

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Paul Torday
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8 hrs and 35 mins


John Sessions, Samantha Bond, Fenella Woolgar

average rating is 5 out of 5
average rating is 5 out of 5

Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects


Simply Ex-squid-site, Gill-Splitting Brilliance.


🧡 The ultimate ode to British understatement, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen owes much of its charm to its endearing characters, particularly the downtrodden Fred Jones and elegant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot. Their correspondence and interactions say so little and yet so much.

💚 Torday has a talent for making anyone an expert - or enthusiast at the very least - in even the most obscure subject. He is also the master of normalising the absurd. Then he toys with the comic possibilities. And maintains more than a semblance of reality. And so, not only did I understand how absurd it would be to fish for salmon in the Yemen, but I came to accept it was possible anyway.

💛 Between the "very drôle" humour and governmental themes, it's no surprise that it's been compared to the genius of Yes Prime Minister.


🎧 A who's who cast of eminent narrators - this comes straight from the top - perform this audiobook and the result is just as dry, just as plummy and just as funny as it deserves. A 5-starfish affair if ever there was one. And all the better for delightful little touches like Andrew Marr portraying himself.

🎧 It's worth saying as well that the punctuation of occasional musical interludes to signal certain sections beginning or ending was executed subtly so as not to interfere with the content, but enough to help the listener.


No spoilers for this one. Maybe next time!
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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen


Written as a "report into the circumstances surrounding the decision to introduce salmon into the Yemen", this is a novel that is made up of e-mails, letters, diary extracts, records of the prime minister's Question Time, interviews, and chapters from the memoirs of a fantastically weaselly Peter Mandelson-type figure.

The "Yes Minister" comparisons are justified (and there is some brilliant, hilarious political and bureaucratic satire here), but at its heart, this is the story of a hen-pecked, slightly pompous, middle-aged scientist who finds himself caught up in what seems like an impossible project, and of how this project changes his life. In the process, he becomes an unlikely and rather lovable hero, discovers true love for himself, finds himself both a pawn and then a victim of political spin, leaves his brilliantly horrible wife, and learns to believe in the impossible. And he takes the listener with him in the process.
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