‘Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them.’
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a rather technical, although not specifically aimed at book about fishing and specifically salmon. Whilst giving us an unusually deep insight into this well-loved by the few, well-mocked by many sport, it also goes about showing the ‘truths’ of our governments and what they will do to hold power. Although some characters do feel overplayed, we get a sense of the personal relationships and especially the marriage right from the beginning. We can see the direction the protagonist’s (in my opinion Dr. Alfred Jones although some may disagree) marriage is heading in from the beginning although he himself obviously cannot. We are also introduced to a pretty assistant early on who one assumes is a romantic interest, although not necessarily in the way we expect.
However, the characters are real and relationships are not sacrificed for the sake of a ‘good’ rom-com. It is with these different personalities that the story comes about, and it ultimately shows how everything can be seen in different ways. The use of different ways of telling the story (through diary entries, interrogations and extracts + more) displays the different reactions and ideas of the different characters also. Although we often hear the same part of the story twice, the different sides of the story give a well-rounded tale.
Two characters I’ve failed yet to mention but are in fact an integral part of the book are the Sheik and the Prime Minister. In terms of a physical plot, the Sheik had but one point; he has the idea and the means (unlimited money) to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen. But emotionally he brings a lot more to the table. He affects our main character a lot with his religious beliefs, and while Dr. Alfred Jones is no convert, he is affected. He begins to understand the true spiritual and social point of fishing in the Yemen. The Prime Minister on the other hand sees only the political benefits of being involved with the scheme.
I am yet to see the film, but I doubt the script is honest to the book. I see Hollywood, turning the story in a slightly different direction for a ‘better’ story. However, I do not know this. Needless to say this is an intriguing and definitely interesting book (regardless of your interest in fishing or politics) which manages to disguise its ending until, well, the very end.