Saturday, November 19, 2016

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

image from LibraryThing
It's been a long time since I've read a science fiction/time travel book. This one is not like anything I've read before.  It's the future in England and time travel is a thing.  But - it's not what I expect of traveling to an unknown and interesting place - instead the reader is dropped into the midst of an already moving story.

You are in England of the future and all the time traveling of the day is to learn the details of Coventry Cathedral - because it is being completely rebuilt and refurnished to the moment before it was destroyed by Nazi bombers in WWII.

And poor Ned, the main character, has been shuttling around the late 1800s trying to figure out what has happened to "The Bishop's Bird Stump." The reader doesn't even find out what in the world the bird stump is until well in to the book - a hideous vase - and that really doesn't even matter.  Because Ned pulls us in to the world of Muchings End where he is to rest up and recover from his time-lagged state.  But that isn't a Muchings End of current time, but one of the the past where men wear boater hats and float down the Thames and quote poetry to Victorian women.  Into this world the befuddled Ned falls and his quest to find the bird stump slowly begins to make sense.

I enjoyed this book - I sort of liked the off-kilter feel I had as a reader.  I felt like I had come into the middle of a movie and didn't have the energy to ask my neighbor what was going I just stayed with it until it began to make sense. It's also a love story - in a very English Victorian way - and the story of a spoiled cat and a great bulldog named Cyril. By the way, there are no cats in the future.  So, Ned's first contact with a purring feline is rather funny!!

This is a good one.

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