I’ve been quite lax, to say the least, in my blogging. I finished Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog quite some time ago, and never reported in. And in fact since then I’ve reread The Hobbit but I won’t be reviewing that here since I’ve read it so many times that there’s no way I could do approach it with any resemblance of objectivity. But anyway, back to the Dog.
The only other Connie Willis book I’ve read is The Doomsday Book which was about a future historian time traveling back to research The Black Death. I read it quite some time ago but I remember it as being rather somber, as the topic would suggest. In To Say Nothing of the Dog we follow another time traveling historian but this time out the tone is distinctly light-hearted.
The title here is a tribute to Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat: to Say Nothing of the Dog!, published in 1889. This is the story of, well, three men and a dog taking an excursion along the Thames. The hero of Willis’s book, Ned Henry, also ends up in a rowboat on the Thames and actually encounters Jerome’s trio.
And I’m telling you nothing about the actual book, am I? Aye, I’m a bit rusty.
Anyway, Ned Henry, historian, has been doing too much time traveling of late, resulting in a bad case of ‘time lag’ which leaves him generally confused. He is sent back to Victorian England for some R&R, but immediately gets caught up with ever more convoluted and silly adventures when he does so. Watching him trying to navigate the social customs of the times while trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the upper class without doing anything to corrupt the time stream becomes more and more funny as the book goes on.
Yeah, well, it’s been a good while since I finished it…so I’m doing a lousy job of explaining it. But I will say I really enjoyed it and plan on looking for more of Ms. Willis’ novels. She captures the feel of these historical times so … well, I was going to say accurately, but how should I know what it really felt like to be rowing down the Thames in 1889? But it *feels* accurate, and that’s good enough for me!