Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Paul Torday




  • Paperback: 329 pages – Unabridged
  • Genre : Fiction
  • Publisher: Phoenix an imprint of Orion 2007
  • Source: My bookshelves.
  • First Sentence :  Book is written mainly as a series of letters emails and other documents, starting with one entitled ‘The Origins of the Yemen Salmon Project’.
  • Review Quote: ‘An entertaining and successful debut…warmly recommended to anyone searching for feelgood comedy with surprising bite’  Sunday Telegraph.
  • My Opinion: A satirical novel weaved around bureaucracy that will make you laugh.


This title has been languishing on our TBR bookshelves for far too long as despite the fact my husband and others via reviews have been encouraging me to read this debut novel, I somehow never did. I think maybe I was unsure it was going to be to my taste.  Well I was pleasantly surprised with this diverting and original satirical novel weaved around bureaucracy that picks fun at every facet of the British lifestyle.

The protagonist is Dr Alfred Jones, known as Fred a boring lower ranking civil servant, a fisheries specialist in fact for the National Centre For Fisheries Excellence. He reluctantly thanks to higher officialdom forcing him to do so becomes part of a project to introduce the sport of salmon fishing to the Yemen. The course of  British Politics and his own life are changed forever as gradually Fred becomes fascinated with the project. As he studies the feasibilities for the Sheikh whose idea this all is, he also grows emotionally and is no longer the underdog husband or lowly civil servant whose high points in life include publishing an article in a fishing magazine on fly larvae or acquiring a new electric toothbrush!

Overall I recommend this as it is a refreshingly different book that is an easy read. A warning though if you do not enjoy satire, give it a miss.


Paul Torday

Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons. He has spent most of his life in industry, specifically engineering, which took him all over the world including the Middle East. He has travelled extensively in Oman exploring the desert and back country with his wife.  For the last fifteen years he has also been a keen salmon fisherman, and as he lives close to the River North Tyne, he has been able to indulge in this enthusiasm.

I am certainly now looking forward to reading the rest of Paul Torday’s novels as listed in this short video.

Uploaded by Waterstonescom on Apr 19, 2011

A film has  also been made of ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ starring Emily Blunt  as  Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, Ewan McGregor as Fred Jones and  Kristin Scott Thomas  as Bridget Maxwell and is now in post production to be released in 2012.

Information for this post is with thanks to the following websites.

Official Website - Salmon Fishing In The Yemen

Internet Movie Database



  1. I like satire, so I might like it. Wonderful review, and thanks for imbedding the video!

  2. Hi Linda. I enjoy satire, but I don't think this particular book will be for me, despite you giving it a good review! I am doing so much reading, that I really do have to control my reading, if that makes any sense to you!

  3. Thank you for a great review. I enjoy satire so I'm going to put it on my list.

  4. I like satires, and I really enjoyed this book too. I am looking forward to reading more of Paul Torday's books.

  5. I am going to need another lifetime to keep up with the great books you add to my TBR stack! I appreciate satire and actually found this book in my library's catalog! Thanks for the recommendation.

  6. This sounds like a good one. I better read it before the movie comes out:)
    Thanks for the recommendation.

  7. Ricki@ Sounds like I might have tempted you.

    Thisisme@ It makes absolute sense, my wishlist grows daily.

    Bonnie@ Thankyou, I hope you enjoy it.

    Misha@ I must read your review, I have one more of his books which I plan to read soon.

    Patricia@ I know the feeling, my afternoon reading time is just not enough!

    BookQuoter@ Absolutely! Also it would probably be a good one for quoting from.


I indulge my love of books with this blog and it makes it all worthwhile when you leave comments. I really am interested in what you think so do let me know. I have decided as the nature of this review blog makes for conversation in the comments, just to reply here and not individually, so please subscribe to comments or call back again to stay in the conversation. Thankyou for your continued support.