Tuesday, 6 December 2011

In which Mr W and I enjoy the same book (More than you can say)

Mr W is away working in the Netherlands this week; over the preceding weekend I read More than you can say by Paul Torday and it occurred to me that Mr W would also enjoy it so I dispatched him with it on Monday morning (4am start...) and by Monday evening (lots of delays on the plane) he reported that he'd finished it and enjoyed it a lot. It's been soooooo long since I actually wrote about a book on this blog that I thought I should make an exception for this as I think it's the first fiction book that he's read all year.

You might be familiar with Paul Torday for his book Salmon Fishing in the Yemen which I think was a Richard and Judy choice a couple of years ago; I think I read that at the time but it certainly didn't stay with me in the way that this book did. The plot could be considered ridiculous but somehow it becomes more plausible as the story continues:

It tells the story of Richard, an ex soldier who has left hte army after fighting in Afghanistan. He's struggled to settle down into normal life, tried to run a restaurant, tried to resume his relationship and failed. Although we know this at the start it is only as the book develops that we find out the details and this story. He turns to gambling and this is pretty much where the book opens. Gambling one night in London he takes a bet to be in Oxford by 1pm the following day, travelling only on foot. As an ex-soldier, a 52 mile route march isn't too daunting so he takes it up, unsure if his shoes will make it. But on the way he is kidnapped. It's difficult to say too much more without giving the plot away but it is a story of many twists and turns that I really couldn't put down.

A reviewer on Amazon says "if you want gripping storylines then buy his books" so I am actually tempted to seek out more of his books at the library. This one was not by any means great literature but it was hugely enjoyable and an absolute page-turner and I've not seen it mentioned on any of the blogs that I follow.


  1. Bet Ken was very glad to have a good book to pull out of his bag with the delays. I'm going to whip over to my library's catalogue and see if we have this right now...

  2. How wonderful! I am lucky to be engaged to a fellow bibliophile, but as he won't read fiction there are few books we would both read. Though, as he reads a lot of travel, I may tempt hime with a Virago traveller one of these days. He already has The Virago Book of Poems for Gardeners which picks up on two of his interests!

  3. Oooo that sounds fab. I like that a 52 route march is fine, no object, so the author chucks in a really drammatic obstacle.

  4. Sounds as if it might have been quicker for Mr. W. to walk to the Netherlands :)

  5. Coincidentally, you might have noticed that Cornflower Books today features an interview with Paul Torday. I've just noticed that I described 'More Than You Can Say' as my least favourite of his books, though only relatively and not by a large margin:

  6. argh nice you both like it me and mrs a have very different tastes in books ,all the best stu

  7. Stu - it is very rare for me and Mr W to enjoy the same book!

    David - I had spotted your review when I downloaded the coverpic from librarything. If you're a fan, which one should I read next?

    Jodie - exactly!

    Darlene - I'm not sure what he's going to read on the way home. Fingers crossed no delays!

    Jane - it's very rare for Mr W to read fiction, I normally manage to tempt him with the odd bit of non fiction from the library but an OU course this year has rather impeded that.

  8. Verity, if you are in the mood for tragi-comic novel about the economic crisis then I would recommend you turn next to The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers. Though it would appear that my view of the relative merits of Torday's novels runs counter to some of his fans. Another Librarything member said of this one: "Not nearly as good as his others".


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