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.
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.
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.
My favorite Connie Willis book, it's a rare science fiction time-travel story with a wit and humor that matches the Victorian times it's set in. It has Connie Willis's typical attention to detail, which can occasionally bog down the pace of the book, but important clues to the mystery are hidden in the details that previously seemed somewhat random. A delightful read.
A simple (yet complex) story about time travel and the "incongruities" that can be caused by someone who means well.
In To Say Nothing of the Dog, you are immediately thrown into the story of Ned Henry, a time-traveling historian in the year 2057, who is looking for a specific artifact from the past. What follows is a intricate tale involving many unique and interesting characters, to say nothing of the dog. =)
This is the second book I've read by Connie Willis and I have to say, she is becoming one of my favorite authors.
This was my book club's selection for this month. I liked the story, I liked the time traveling, I tolerated the Victorian stuff (stuffed kidneys for breakfast - ick). It was really long - easily 50-100 pages could have been cut and it would have been perfectly fine. I also didn't like all the references to old books and stuff that I had no clue about. I'm sure it's some fun play on literary people, but I'm just simple folk ;) Good book, not as good as I had heard it was, but good none-the-less.
Ned Henry is shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s in search of the bishop's bird stump. If you are a fan of the Golden Age of Mysteries, you will really enjoy catching all the references in this wonderful time travel book. Even if you aren't, you will still enjoy the story.
This is a wonderful book, one of my favorites. It's a time travel story, a comedy of manners, a Golden Age-style mystery story, a screwball romance, a Victorian drawing-room comedy, and a homage to Jerome K. Jerome's book "Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)". Hilarious and amusing by turns, and always, always entertaining, "To Say Nothing of the Dog" has earned a place of honor in my heart -- and on my bookshelf. Utterly and thoroughly delightful!
This book was a real stand-out for me! I picked it up after reading some good reviews, and I was pleasantly surprised to like it even better than I expected.
It's a time-travel/mystery/romance which is consistently witty and often downright hilarious. Books which are simultaneously literary and humorous are hard to come by - but here, Willis succeeds amazingly well.
In the near future, time travel has been discovered. It's being used by a wealthy society dame, Lady Schrapnell, in her well-funded pet project - to restore Coventry Cathedral, destryed in a WWII bombing raid. Her time-travelling agents live in fear of her harridan-like ways, especially Ned Henry, who's been assigned to ascertain exactly what happened to the Bishop's Bird Stump (a particularly grotesque and rococo piece of Victorian art).
Indirectly, this assignment takes him to Victorian England, where, affected by severe time-lag (think jet-lag x10) he ends up travelling down the river in the company of a recently-lovestruck young man - and a boisterous dog. The action picks up from there, with a cast of quirky characters, including the ditzy blonde Tossie, the pre-raphaelite beauty Verity, eccentric professors, prudish-and-proper parents, fraudulent psychics, and, of course, Princess Arjumand.
I haven't read "Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog!" by Jerome K. Jerome - a genuine Victorian comedy that apparently inspired Willis stylistically - but I can say that this book would definitely appeal to any fans of Victorian fiction (experts in the field would, I'm sure, 'get' many things that I missed), as well as classic mystery fans (Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie are referenced more than once), and, of course, sci-fi/time travel aficionados.
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...
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.
I couldn't really get into this book.....it has great reviews from other readers and critics. I used to read a lot of science fiction, but I guess my tastes have changed. decide for yourself....this is about time travel.
This is one of my favorite books. It's a fantastic blend of science fiction, comedy of errors, victorian absurdity, and a treasure hunt. The book has a long lead-in to the main story, but it's funny from beginning to end and definitely worth reading.
This book converges four elements that I love--time travel, history, humor, and animals--into the perfect story. Ned Henry's adventures as a time-traveling historian for Oxford are essentially the time-traveling version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Plus cats. I'm not a huge re-reader, and the instant I was done with this I wanted to read it again. If you enjoy intelligent, witty humor, scifi, history, and/or animals, you will definitely love this book.