“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” by Paul Torday

Dr Alfred Jones is a fisheries scientist for the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence, who receives a laughable request to create a habitat suitable to introduce salmon into the highlands of the Yemen. Dismissing it as an unachievable folly, he is soon drawn into the project which is politically important for not only his government agency, but for the entire British government. While working on what initially seems an impossible proposal, Dr Jones gradually learns to appreciate the vision of a rich Sheikh with a passion for salmon fishing, embarking on a journey that will change his life forever.

I was completely enchanted by this book, which came as a breath of fresh air after reading what has seemed like a seemingly endless run of dour, depressing novels (that is, aside from my forays into chick-lit). A fresh approach to story telling, using various styles of reportage, from diaries to emails, PM’s questions to transcribed interviews and letters to unpublished manuscripts, the author was able to show different perspectives on the story without having to have a single narrative voice running through the novel. On the surface, the plot is a light hearted tale, but as you get further into it, you realise it is a political satire reminiscent of Yes, Minister and The Thick of It, as well as a heart warming story of the discovery of faith and love.

An easy, quick read, but extremely entertaining and I would heartily recommend it. I look forward to reading Paul Torday’s second novel as soon as I can get my hands on it!