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To Say Nothing of the Dog
To Say Nothing of the Dog
Author: Connie Willis
On the surface, England in the summer of 1888 is possibly the most restful time in history -- lazy afternoons boating on the Thames, tea parties, croquet on the lawn -- and time traveler Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling back and forth between the 21st century and the 1940s looking for a Victorian atrocity called the ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780553575385
ISBN-10: 0553575384
Publication Date: 12/1/1998
Pages: 512
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 195

4.1 stars, based on 195 ratings
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 4
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 376 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Definitely the most entertaining time travel book I've ever read - the witty, comedy-of-errors of Oscar Wilde mixed with complex, intellectual time travel genius. Willis ties up every loose end, answers every unanswered question, and leaves no paradox...animal lovers will especially love this one.
reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
I'm glad someone convinced me to finally read this, because it really is a great read--and I had no idea a gag about a dog (there's also an important cat) could be stretched so far and to such great amusement. This turned out to be one of those books I just wanted to keep reading and reading; I'd finish one chapter and think "oh, just one more!" I loved the dry humor--so many times an amusing turn of phrase or allusion was just tossed in, waiting for me to either notice and get it or not. Time travel is not a concept that particularly interests me, but in this book, time travel itself is not really the point. It's a device that plays an important part in the story, but it's simply the starting point for a fun and complicated adventure that weaves together history, literature, poetry, mystery conventions, and romance.
reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Such a zany book, I really enjoyed it and had some laugh out loud moments. I loved Cyril and Princess Arjumand!
reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
FABULOUS and fun read! Some time travel, some romance, great tales of Victorian England. I loved this book. If you read it, I suggest also picking up "Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)" by J.K. Jerome.
reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 155 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Fun time travel romp. The humor and British settings remind me a bit of Douglas Adams.
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reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 113 more book reviews
Another fabulous book in the time travel series- where historians actually go back in time to study certain periods of history. Great characters, wry humor, and a bit of romance. Highly recommended.
reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 3 more book reviews
Ned Henry is a historian badly in need of a rest. As a historian, he's been running back and forth in through time to find the bishop's bird stump for his tyrannical employer, Lady Schrapnell. All these trips have left him with "time-lag," which is a condition resulting from too much time travel and manifests symptoms such as Difficulty Distinguishing Sounds, Tendency to Sentimentality, and an inability to think logically. The only cure is rest--something completely foreign to any one in the employ of Lady Schrapnell. To get Ned out of the way (and to attempt to fix a damaged time continuum), Ned is sent back to the Victorian era on a mission. If only he could remember what it was...

Honestly it took me a little while to get into TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG, but once I was into it, I was lost. I'm not entirely sure why it took me so long (about 70 pages) to warm up to TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG. I found plenty humorous in those pages, I just didn't feel compelled to read. This might be because the action doesn't really begin until Ned meets up with fellow historian, Verity Kindle... In fact, other than than Willis' humor and obvious talent at writing, the relationship between Ned and Verity was one of my foremost enjoyments of the book.

Willis really managed a deft humor in TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG. However, it's certainly a sense of humor that will either mesh completely with a reader or leave the reader completely wanting. For me, it was perfect. Willis mixes literary references (especially to Jerome K. Jerome's THREE MEN IN A BOAT), historical quirks (like Arthur Conan Doyle's interest in spiritualism/the paranormal), and comedic situations--which was perfect to tickle my funny bone.

The humor was great for me and (to be embarrassingly honest), I found that the time travel aspect was a good introduction to time-travel fiction. Yes, I have until now not really read anything having to do with time travel. Willis' version of time travel appealed to me. Although I can't speak from an experienced point of view, I liked how she dealt with incongruities and "time-slippage". That isn't even to mention time-lag, which I found hilarious and wonderful. I loved how completely lost Ned was at the beginning of the book due to time lag. His inability to Distinguish Sounds and Tendency to Sentimentality never got old:
"Also, I seemed to have overcome my Tendency to Sentimentality. The younger lady had a pretty heart-shaped face, and even prettier ankle-shaped ankles, which I'd caught a glimpse of when she alighted from the train, but I hadn't felt any inclination to dissolve into rapturous comparisons with sylphs or cherubim. Better still, I had been able to come up with both words without any trouble. I felt completely cured" (p61).

I probably shouldn't mention how I chortled ridiculously every time Ned refers to the symptoms in capitalized form...

TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG doesn't fit nicely into any particular genre. I lump it into science fiction just to keep things simple, but it really has a lot of great aspects. It's truly humorous, has a great romance (with one of my favorite romantic lines probably ever--if you ask I may just tell you what it is), a mystery...

Except for the rocky start, I enjoyed TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG immensely. I'm looking very much forward to my next Connie Willis read...
reviewed To Say Nothing of the Dog on + 56 more book reviews
This book seemed right down my alley since I like science fiction and (non-romance) fantasy. Turns out it wasn't what I expected, but I greatly enjoyed it. It has a flavor of British comedy. That's in keeping with the fact that takes place in England. The science part of fiction isn't the main part of the book - the time travel is more of a tool much like an elevator. Parts at the beginning aren't understood until almost the end so keep reading. Lots of puns and word jokes. There's also the feeling of a combination of 1940's light-hearted movies and "Lucy and Ethel" escapades. Very enjoyable. Highly recommended.

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