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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Random Reviews: To Say Nothing of the Dog

Book Title: To Say Nothing of the Dog

Author: Connie Willis

Reviewed By: Stephanie F.

In the year 2057, a domineering aristocrat has financed the reconstruction of Coventry Cathedral to its prior glory (it was decimated in a Nazi blitz in 1940). To make the cathedral historically accurate, she's pulled every historian in the UK to search out the artifacts. As historians, each is prepped in his or her scholarly field, then sent through time to observe history in the making. Unfortunately, the safeguards fail and a historian accidentally brings something back from the Victorian era, potentially altering the space-time continuum and putting the threads of reality dangerously close to paradox.

Enter Ned, a time-lapse sufferer, who, under Lady Shrapnell's insistence, has made far too many time jumps in too short a time frame and come close to a nervous collapse. He disappears into the Victorian era to hide from the shrill matron and try to set right the fabric of time. On the way, he meets an affectionate bulldog, a bumbling Oxford don, a proprietary pussycat, and prevents a Classics major from meeting his One True Love. The historians try to fix time and find the lost artifact (the bishop's bird stump) before the universe implodes.

That, and there's a lot of adjustment to Spiritualism, Victorian manners, and jokes about Jeeves, Lord Peter Wimsey, discussion on the nature of a good mystery (Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Wilkie Collins, et. al), and a few church bazaars with the dreaded jumble sales.

The writing is phenomenal. This book had me laughing aloud and wishing there was more so that I wouldn't be done yet. I figured out the twists partway through, but that's mainly because I've read a lot of mysteries. It didn't hamper my enjoyment at all. In fact, I liked knowing more than the heroes (though, to be fair, I am not time-lagged and hallucinating. I am merely an insomniac). To say nothing of the cats (or the dog, who was quite lovable) and the time-traveling historians. TIME TRAVELING HISTORIANS!

Although this book is only available as an eBook, we have several of Connie Willis' books in print versions, including the novella Inside Job and Blackout/All Clear sequence, which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2011.

Find To Say Nothing of the Dog in our catalog.

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