Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

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Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Postby JFH » Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:12 am

Everyone breathing in the UK in last 20 years is aware of Douglas Adams's work most notably of course The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - and most of us just love it! So I just cant quite understand why I never read this book before? Anyway that means I came to this novel with high expectations. It was to be witty, funny and intelligent and have a geat use of English. The characters were to be quirky but believable and the plot - well he does usually find a plot somewhere!

And I wasnt disappointed! You can almost open the book at random and find a great quote, "Sleeping was a very important activity for him. He liked to sleep for longish periods, great swathes of time. Merely sleeping overnight was not taking the business seriously." DNA could take something as mundane as sleep and find a twist - sleeping is taken for granted not seriously! I love his often used technique of absurdly anthropomorphising an every day object and attributing it with an inescapable melancholy: "It was a battered yellow Citroen 2CV which had one careful owner but also three suicidily reckless ones. It made its way up the driveway with a reluctant air as if all it asked from life was to be tipped into a restul ditch ... and there allowed to settle in graceful abandonment, ..." :)

I found the novel to have great pace, things were happening - maybe surreal but you have to read on. And its a good length at just ove 200 pages - many recent novels seem to drag things out to 400 or 500 pages.

I liked the characters and spotted bits of me in some of them - good bits and bad I guess. 8) Andmost of it is set in the part of London I like best, so familiarity with the landmarks adds to the enjoyment and he picks up on other peoples unqestionably daft endeavours - why build a railway station, St Pancras, to look like a gothic cathedral? (Is St Pancras a real saint anyway? :? )

So I thought it was a good read and good fun and I give it 8/10 dropping two point for what I thought was a weak ending and a title I still dont understand .

So what did other people think? And Cagso what's the next book?
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Postby dignan » Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:40 am

Just a few quick comments. I really enjoyed it too. I'm Canadian, but inherited a bit of a British sense of humour. There were a lot of laugh out loud moments for me reading this book.

I had to jump in to say you hit the nail on the head about his "technique of absurdly anthropomorphising an every day object". I was thinking about one passage that isn't about melancholy, but I love, from when he first describes Dirk's bedroom,

"The sun crept slowly across the bedclothes, as if nervous of what it might find amongst them, slunk down the side of the bed, moved in a rather startled way across some objects it encountered on the floor, toyed nervously with a couple of motes of dust, lit briefly on a stuffed fruitbat hanging in the corner, and fled."

Pure gold.
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Postby Niko » Sat Oct 14, 2006 3:38 pm

I'll chime in here :)

The book is a great one. I'm only sorry that Adams had only finished two Gently books before his very untimely passing.

The opening sentence sets the tone of the whole -- to keep you nodding your head in agreement while yelling aloud, "Yes! You've got it!"

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced that expression "As pretty as an airport."

So very, very true :lol:

Everything is connected. You just need a holistic detective to figure it out.

Adams liked to throw things out for you to read and then forget... until those things came into play... fridges, eagles, long forgotten secretaries... they all connect at some points :wink:

Always know where your towel is 8)

-- Niko
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Postby Cagso » Sun Oct 15, 2006 9:12 am

I definitely agree that the book is funny. Also very odd. I'm not sure if it's odd because it's science fiction or it's odd because it's British. I'll have to say it's both. I did find myself laughing aloud and shaking my head, thinking, "those crazy Brits!"

I'm not ready to give up reading other genres yet, but it's a nice change.

I know you're all chomping at the bit, wondering what the next selection is. John, at the risk of turning you off, my pick has about 500 pages. I'm told that it reads pretty quickly, though. I chose something about dysfunctional, small-town U.S. Hopefully you'll all enjoy it. -c.

The Risk Pool by Richard Russo

http://www.amazon.com/Risk-Pool-Vintage ... F8&s=books
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Postby dignan » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:33 am

Not that I'm dying to be negative or anything, but if I had one small thing about the book I didn't love, it was that I felt like early on, there was a distinct section where he decided he had to introduce the characters and tell us about them. Then when that was out of the way, he decided it's time to just have fun and tell the crazy story he wanted to tell and he didn't have to worry about character development any more. So somehow by the end of the book, I felt like a lot of the character introduction stuff was sort of irrelevant to what happened later. Don't know if I'm explaining myself very well...Might just be me, I'm no literary scholar.
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Postby JFH » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:55 am

dignan wrote:... it was that I felt like early on, there was a distinct section where he decided he had to introduce the characters and tell us about them.


I think you might be right Dignan but I'll forgive him that because of the fun in the book :lol:
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Postby dignan » Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:22 pm

I forgive him too. Overall I really enjoyed the book - great choice.
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Postby sh8un » Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:04 pm

Ok...I can not seem to finish this book. while I really like the story, I just can't seem to find the time to read it. Between moving, planning a wedding (in Mexico), studying for the US RN exam, taking care of sick puupy, working, and learning to sew...there just doesn't seem to be enough time. I have only found one place whrere I can find the time to read but that only gives me about 3-5 min. I will finish it one day...
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Postby Niko » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:03 pm

reading-time can be a problem. I understand that one :)

enjoy! And best wishes for all you tasks!

- niko
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Postby sh8un » Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:12 pm

Thanx Niko
I just have to work really hard at remembering what happened where I last left off. :oops:
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Postby carolew » Sun Nov 12, 2006 10:44 am

The book is on my night table. It arrived home through the mail with in no time (Amazone) BUT , like others here, no time to read it. I have much else to read and can't seem to keep up with your guys. I am not going to give up on the group but I will be behind. Looking forward to a good laugh. Take care, Carolew
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Postby carolew » Sat Dec 16, 2006 6:59 am

Very interesting and entertaining book. I have never read anything like it.
He uses words in such strange and funny ways. Because I am french speaking, I had to read very slowly to catch all the subtle details and awkward combinations of words. Most refreshing actually. I really liked it.
Also, his vision of how the world functions is really special.
Looking forward to the next book but I will finish the ones that are already started... chow, Carolew
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