- Excellent condition
By Paul Torday
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 emails, letters, diary extracts, records of Prime Minister's Question Time, interviews, and chapters from the memoirs of a fantastically weasely 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 it's 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 loveable 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 reader with him in the process' The author (a keen salmon fisherman himself) writes about salmon fishing with atmospheric reverence, deftly captures the hypocrisy of Western governments - who spot the PR angles of sending fish to the Middle East rather than soldiers - conveys the mindless bureaucracy of the civil service, and the government's skillful nurturing of deniability, and portrays a man who rather belatedly comes of age in extraordinary circumstances.