To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Fateful re-read 5/4/18
This is one of my all-time favorite books. From the clever phrases and deep PTSD exasperation to the total eventual collapse of the space-time continuum because of a freaking cat to THE BISHOP'S BIRD-STUMP, I find myself chortling nearly twenty years after the first read and again on the re-read.
We're catapulted through time thanks to the Oxford History Department's time machine put to the disposal of a wealthy American patron who is, let's be frank, NUTS. She's sent seemingly countless overworked historians into the Blitz to recover artifacts from the destroyed cathedral at Covington.
What really happens is a LOT of slippage in the time-stream, a deep mystery, even more miscommunication and strange coincidences and classic slapstick and some of the funniest Victorian Romance I've come across.
Oh, it's definitely hardcore SF, but it's also a tribute to Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat and the spirit is very much alive and well.
What we've got is a genre-masher of epic proportions. It's a high-stakes time-continuum travel and looming disaster, a truly atrocious MacGuffin that has everyone running around like headless chickens in a slapstick comedy, and a classic 1930's Hercule Peroit Agatha Christie mystery.
All three genres are pulled off wonderfully! And she tops it all off with VERY well-turned phrases that stick with you so warmly. :)
Charming? Beyond charming. Utterly delightful. No poppycock. :)
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