To Say Nothing of the Dog, Or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

To Say Nothing of the Dog, Or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last

Book - 1998
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From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel . . .

Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's bird stump. It's part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier.

But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past. Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right--not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1998
ISBN: 9780553575385
Branch Call Number: SF WIL
Characteristics: 493 p. ;,18 cm


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Jan 16, 2021

Funny and a mytery recommended by Goodreads editors. 2021

IndyPL_SteveB Dec 18, 2019

An award-winning, comic science fiction combination of time travel and historical novel, under the influence of Monty Python, Jerome K. Jerome, and theatrical drawing room comedies. Like most time travel stories, the plot of this is incredibly complex and hopeless to adequately summarize.

Ned Henry is a historian in 2057, part of an Oxford University group of time travelers who investigate historical events. There are rules for this, of course, because mucking about with the past could possibly create changes to the time continuum and block your ability to return. Ned has been bouncing all over the 20th Century on errands and is badly time-lagged (like “jet-lagged”.) For a rest he is sent back to 1888 but somehow gets in the wrong place and prevents Terence St. Trewes from meeting the woman he is supposed marry. Their grandson will fly an important mission in 1940 that changes the course of War World II in subtle ways. This change appears to be connected to historian Verity Kindle who a day earlier rescued a cat from drowning. Neither Ned nor Verity is thinking clearly from all of the time jumps and every step they take to make corrections seems to make things worse. All of history could break down.

As the plot gathers steam, Willis treats us to a comic time travel farce, with Ned and Verity popping in and out of time, and everyone else popping in and out of doorways like a stage comedy. It’s all great fun, especially if you know something about the period and can catch the many off-kilter literary references.

WCL_Kiirstin Nov 04, 2019

Very clever, funny, and re-reads well. A smart, fun ride where the pieces of the puzzle are all there from the start, and fly in fast and furious at the end to fit together in a very satisfying way.

Jul 19, 2019

An exciting book to read. It is so filled with interesting characters (that you actually care about), literary allusions, and historical information that you may actually forget that it is a Science-Fiction novel. (To say nothing of the dog -- or the cat.)

Happy adventuring.

Mar 12, 2019

This book was good company for several weeks. I think one has to be a certain kind of person and/or be in a certain kind of mood for this to appeal. I enjoyed the close analysis of implications of time travel, the idea that there is something out there that wants things to work out and makes corrections towards that goal, and the interesting representation of history. The fantasy that things from history like the library at Alexandria might be saved and brought forward was a ray of sunlight in a dreary day. And the narrator of the audiobook was brilliant at making the various voices distinguishable.

Jun 05, 2017

I quite enjoyed this book, with its humor, adventure, and slight romance, and would definitely recommend it. The characters were all quite likable, and the notion of time travel simply added to the fun. I would not, however, recommend reading this while tired, as it detracts from being able to follow the plot.

Jan 28, 2016

This is one of my favorite books ever! Science-fiction, a romance, comedy, a time-travel puzzle. Delightful and bizarre happenings. It introduced me to "Three Men in a Boat" which is truly one of the most delightful novels in the English language. Read "To Say Nothing of the Dog", then read "Three Men in a Boat" and then re-read "To Say Nothing of the Dog" to get the references and see all the threads of the time-travel puzzle after knowing how it all came together. It's wonderful.

melwyk Sep 24, 2014

Readers who enjoy a retake on a classic, and love humour and imaginative settings will likely enjoy this novel. Inspired by Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, Willis takes our time-travelling characters on a wild ride from the future, back into the Victorian Age, on a search for a rare object, the Bishop's Bird Stump.

bkilfoy Dec 19, 2013

A delight from start to finish, I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed a time travel novel more. With fantastic comedic moments, excellent historical descriptions of both England during the Blitz and the Victorian era, and a complex mystery that sits at the core of the novel, the novel never lulls. While loosely connected to Willis' previous novel, Doomsday, it isn't necessary to read the first to truly enjoy this novel and those who have are in for a surprise at the massive shift in tone. If you like time travel stories or even if you just want a good historical read, this book shouldn't be missed.

Jun 12, 2012

fascinating time travel

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Nov 10, 2008

One of the most pleasantly surprising reads I've ever come across. Don't be put off by the Sci Fi designations. This is a fun, suspenseful book with something that few books ever seem to have...a terrific ending.

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