Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Say Nothing of the Dog

To Say Nothing of the Dog: or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at LastTo Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis
Evan’s ESS = 10 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG-13 (Adult Content, Mild Violence, Thematic Elements, Time Travel)  

“The reason Victorian society was so restricted and repressed was that it was impossible to move without knocking something over.”

“Verity’s Lord Peter’s and Monsieur Poirot’s problem was always that they had too many suspects.  I had never heard of a mystery where the detective didn’t have any.”

Why:  It’s been far too long since we (Evan) awarded top marks to a novel, yet To Say Nothing of the Dog passed our rigorous 10 point inspection with flying colors.  We encountered humor and mystery and love, to say nothing of the fact that this novel was modeled after Jerome K. Jerome’s brilliant masterpiece, Three Men in a Boat. We’ve got all kinds of rosy things to say, so buckle up, people.

Tired, time-lagged, and harassed by an unpleasant boss, Ned Henry needs to escape.  19th century England is offered as the perfect destination and after performing one small task, the main character will have plenty of time for a little rest and relaxation.  Only trouble is, Ned doesn’t really know what the task is.  The other problem is that the small task is actually a large task that could bring on the destruction of the entire time space continuum.  Ah, the unintended consequences of time travel...

Nearly everything about To Say Nothing of the Dog was fantastic; from the Chattisbourne girls and their giggly personality to the strange side effects of Time Lag.  Albeit brief, there was even a much anticipated cameo by the characters from Three Men in a Boat; Jerome, Harris, George, and Montmorency.  While there was never really a memorable blow-milk-out-your-nose moment, the humorous undertone was significant and appreciated.  The corners of our lips were curled up throughout.

To Say Nothing of the Dog was also not a run of the mill time travel book... and instead of a Flux Capacitor our hero uses a much simpler technology called The Net.  An individual’s impact on history is explored as the main character become more and more entangled in a complex mess of matchmaking, cats, and seemingly inconsequential artifacts.  At times the complex plot did have us scratching our heads, but this was mainly due to areas of dryness on our scalp.

The narrative had a definitive P.G. Wodehouse feel with an even wider array of characters.  Ned Henry was the perfect character to lead us through the chaos and Verity Kindle was the perfect compliment, to say nothing of Terence, Baine, and Lady Shrapnell.  Really, the only gripe we have was a blatant PPR (Premature Plot Reveal) related to The Moonstones.  Before we could cover our eyes, the entire whodunit of this Wilkie Collins novel was reviled....  Grrrrr.

We didn’t find ourselves head over heels after Doomsday Book, but this one definitely has us singing the praises of Connie Willis.  On second thought, there won’t be any singing on this blog (you’ll thank us later).  However, don’t let that prevent you from rushing out to try this multi-genre gem!       


  1. I'm so glad to see your rating. I saw high marks at another blog and have it in my TBR. Can't wait to get to it.

  2. I recently read and loved this book too! I agree with the didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book at all though - do you think she meant it to be so obvious?

    I had a seriously good chuckle with this book (and a couple of snorts here and there). Professor Peddick killed me!

    Great review :)

  3. PS - I tagged you guys in the 11 Questions blogging meme here:

  4. I love Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog)! I'm adding this one to my TBR list.

  5. You had me at "P.G. Wodehouse." I haven't heard too much about this book, but your review has me intrigued. Time to add it to the TBR! :)

    (Btw, my new blog--Bookzilla--is live. You're one of my top commenters, and I didn't want you to miss the change-over.

  6. Hey - where did you guys go? I miss your reviews! Come back soon. Belle

  7. I have had this book on my shelf for at least two years - ever since I read The Time Travelers Wife and the Tuesday Next series. Someone must have recommended this as a good follow-up.

    Based on your review, it is getting moved to the front of the shelf! Thanks!