My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It's a 2.5 read for me at best. I thought this was a reread of this novel (which I meant to do when the BBC started the TV series) but I must never have made it more than the first fifty pages last time…thirty years ago. I remember buying this in college after falling in love with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. In the interim I’ve learned that while I liked that book I am not really an Adams fan.
I was bored to tears by the first half of this book. Nor did I find it funny. I see plenty of reviewers who thought it was hysterical so I wonder what I missed. (It’s not as if I’m unfamiliar with British humor. I usually quite enjoy it). I simply didn’t connect at all (and for those wondering, this book and the TV have literally nothing to do with each other).
The first half of the book revolves around a strange Electric Monk and his horse, Gordan Way, a computer gaming tycoon, Richard who works for him and dates Gordan’s sister, Susan, Reg an old professor and Michael a former magazine editor who Gordan disposed. Something big happens to Gordan which finally kicks off the action but that takes forever. We have a long session of reading about a faculty dinner which is even more boring than being at one and I can say that from experience.
Once the bad stuff happens, Richard could end up blamed and jailed, he finally meets up with Dirk Gently (we’re over 100 pages into a 245 page book at this point). They know each other from school where Dirk’s abilities got him in trouble (in theory jailed but I don’t know how cheating on an exam ends in that). Dirk comes off as a con man (though he’s really working at a quantum level, in theory). He’s also rather abrasive.
The second half of the novel is definitely better than the first. My cover blurb says it’s a ghost-horror-detective- time travel-rom-com epic. Okay it has a ghost. You don’t see that it’s actually time travel until the last 50 odd pages which are fast moving if a bit confusing. And then, if you can possibly spoil a 31 year old novel it ends with a to be continued (no, not for me it’s not).
While the characters are well drawn, they didn’t engage me. I found this to be a slog. Also it’s very dated in many ways. To be fair, I probably wouldn’t have been interested in computer stuff 30 years ago when it was fresh. Reading about computer stuff three decades out of date was hard.
I found Dirk abrasive and Richard simply not interesting enough to go looking for the two other books. I know this is a classic and I’m glad I read it. I just wish I had enjoyed it more.
View all my reviews