"I try to think of other insane projects where belief has overcome reason and judgement: the Pyramids, Stonehenge, The Great Wall of China - the Millennium Dome."
Salmon Fishing in The Yemen is a brilliant debut book by author Paul Torday. In a series of diary extracts, e-mails, interviews, letters and news reports he tells the story of Dr Alfred Jones, a Government fisheries scientist who has to help with a private project driven by the Sheikh Muhammad.
A project to introduce salmon fishing in the desert land of the Yemen.
"I guess those fish,
will just fry and die."
It is a journey, told with humour and with a skill that makes you feel secure in the hands of an author who knows what he is doing. So good are the accounts of the governments political manoeuvring to associate themselves with the Sheikh, that you actually believe such a thing could have happened. (I even had to Google it just to make sure!)
This has been my favorite book of this year. The reason? I like ideas and I like emotional journeys . This book has both woven into each other, so that the progress of the salmon project runs alongside the journey of Dr Jones ...
"As I write this entry in my diary, I myself feel like a diary which has been left out in the rain, from which the moisture has washed away the cramped inky writing, the record of thousands of days and nights, leaving only a blank and sodden page."
Torday then takes up that page and shows us a changing man whose hard and defined world has been washed away. And instead of cramped inky writing, Torday writes with an easy style showing us a man being set free through the touch of love and the realisation of the something greater than reason alone.
"Credo, quia impossibile est."
I believe in it, because it is impossible.
Paul Torday lives in Northumberland and has travelled the Middle East for the last 10 years whilst working as an engineer. He has enjoyed salmon fishing for the last 15 years.
Read an extract
Read an interview with Paul Torday
Go to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Web Site
Listen to an extract from Chapter 10
Paul Torday's Agent
Next Month: Men in Space by Tom McCarthy