To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To Say Nothing of the Dog is “related” to Doomsday Book. I say related because the two stories are set in the future, and involve time travel, but the characters are different. Whilst Doomsday Book is set in medieval times – in the middle of the plague – To Say Nothing of the Dog is set in 1888 (mostly).
The author is talented in many ways. Her strengths are developing complex characters, who make you feel for them; settings that are so realistic, you feel like you are actually there; accurate details when it comes to historic information; so many twists and turns, that you never quite know where the story will go next; and, of course, bringing everything to a nice, tidy close.
To Say Nothing of the Dog is a prime example of all these things. This book had lots of humour in it too, which even I found amusing (and I’m a grumpy old woman; well, I’m not that old, but I am grumpy, you can ask my sons). Honestly, if you haven’t read this book, or this author, you should.
Now, here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
Ned is suffering disorientation, maudlin sentimentality and a tendency to beocme distracted by irrelevancies: classic syptoms of excessive time travel. And no wonder. Oxford’s history department has just pulled him out of World War II and Ned’s barely had time to wash off the gunpowder when he has a straw boater shoved on his head, a carpetbag in his hand and is thrown straight into Victorian England. For a holiday.
But an impossible accident makes it hard to relax. Ned’s holiday becomes a mad struggle to put together a historical jigsaw puzzle involving a cat, a diary, young lovers and the mysterious bishop’s bird stump. If he can’t make all the pieces fit it could mean the end of history itself.