Dear Dr Jones
We have been referred to you by Peter Sullivan at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Directorate for Middle East and North Africa).
This book managed to offer a pretty absurd idea and make you unironically support it full-heartedly. The main characters aren’t heroes, the setting isn’t world-shattering (written down in gorgeous detail though). Salmon Fishing in the Yemen shows that an absurd story doesn’t need fanfare and fireworks to leave an impression behind.
A civil servant with a life story that would make anyone fall asleep ends up in a project that needs to allow the people of the Yemen to salmon fish. The PR from the Prime Minister (it starts in England) thinks this is a great opportunity for some good, innocent publicity concerning the Middle East. The Sheik funding the project is the Islamic version of Buddha, full of smiles, calm and motivational speaking and of course there is a (sort of) love interest.
The government probably shouldn’t have gotten involved. Not to share too much of the story, but getting salmons to survive in a dessert is somehow not even the absurdest part of the entire story. Media gets involved, big egos get involved, damage-control fails and the salmon? Even the salmon are a problem.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a delight.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Paul Torday, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2007