I finished listening to Connie Willis’ TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG on the way to Indy. Wow, that was one long book. I wouldn’t say it seemed unnecessarily long or anything, but yeah, definitely a doorstopper.
Did anybody read BLACKOUT / ALL CLEAR? Because it’s really startling how different that story is from TO SAY NOTHING. The latter is very definitely a comedy; of course the former is not a comedy at all, but a suspense / war novel. With time travel, of course. Plus, TO SAY NOTHING actually worked well as an audiobook because there is only one real plotline and only one protagonist, so it’s easy to keep track of even if you take long breaks between listening sessions. That would definitely not have been the case for B / AC, which had an awful lot going on.
If you’ve read B / AC, then you’re aware that it just doesn’t matter how screwed up everything seems to be, everything will actually unfold exactly as it should and the historical continuum will be fine. But I think that’s supposed to be quite clear to the reader in TO SAY NOTHING, much more so than in B / AC, where I think the reader is supposed to be worried — though in fact I assumed things would work out in both books. As of course they do, hope you don’t mind the spoiler.
Okay, if you love Wodehouse, you will almost certainly enjoy TO SAY NOTHING. It’s really well put together, complete with couples that get engaged when they clearly shouldn’t, and couples that are rather slow off the mark when they are plainly meant for each other, and crazy family members, and Highly Competent Butlers holding everything together.
There are indeed a lot of explicit references to THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome, also to murder mysteries — especially Agatha Christie (I missed those) and Dorothy Sayers (those I got). So you might indeed want to do some preliminary reading. Especially because the Lord Peter Whimsy books are really good — at least the ones after Lord Peter meets Harriet Vane.
Okay, and if you have read To SAY NOTHING,I would like to know when you figured out who Mr C is? I figured it out about halfway through, but then I’m dead sure the reader is supposed to find it obvious about three-quarters of the way through. I also saw the thing with the kittens coming a mile away, but I admit I did not figure out where the Bishop’s Birdstump was until the big reveal.
The descriptions of the Bishop’s Birdstump are priceless, btw. We never step back and have it actually described, that wouldn’t work nearly as well. It’s just revealed in dialogue, as in: “Are those . . . camels?” “Seahorses, I think, with Neptune. The camels are over on this side, next to Aphrodite rising from the sea on a clamshell.”
I made that up, I don’t remember what all is on the Bishop’s Birdstump.
So, yeah, read this one for the Bishop’s Birdstump. And yes, I did like the dog.