on December 4, 2014
"Complex" ! But I love Douglas Adams' style...I could read his books forever. He has such an incredible language variety: adjectives, nouns I never heard before all in one sentence in order to contribute to the description of different situations!
on July 15, 2013
The style of writing is different from anything I ever read. The story is also very different and sometimes confusing.
on October 15, 2010
Hilarious and perfect for anyone who can appreciate any kind of dry sense of humour.
on March 10, 2007
A fantastic adventure, as always with Douglas Adams, I found THE LONG DARK TEA-TIME... hysterical, the main character, detective Dirk Gently, eminently likeable and this is the sequel to his first adventure DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY (1987) which I will be sure to read soon. This is a tale of electronic I Ching calculators, angry Norse gods, exploding airport terminals, and the interconnectedness of everything. There's also a lamp that turns into a kitten and we learn that the 90% of the human brain which we don't use is, in fact, filled with penguins.
on February 19, 2004
Kate Schechter should have taken the signs the universe was trying to give her. That's what she tells herself as she shows up at the airport for a trip to Norway in spite of all the warnings. Still, she is unprepared for the check in desk to be blown through the roof just after she misses her flight.
Meanwhile, Dirk Gently has hit a low. He has almost no money and no clients. Except the one he's forgotten about who promptly gets himself killed. Now Dirk feels responsible for not taking this guy's claims serious and wants to track down the green eyed monster. As if that weren't enough, he and his cleaning lady are having a war over who will open his fridge first, an out of order soda machine keeps appearing and disappearing, and he's being stalked by an eagle. What these seemingly unrelated events have to do with each other provides plenty of wacky entertainment.
I am still only mildly familiar with the books of Douglas Adams, and I simply must correct that. This fantasy novel was wonderfully strange and entertaining. The opening bits about the airport and Kate's trip had me laughing out loud. The laughs slowed down over the course of the book, but they were still plentiful. Maybe it's my normal reading of mysteries, but my only real complaint was an ending that was really more confusing then enlightening of what had gone on before.
Actually, I listened to the audio version of this book, read by the author. These can be hit or miss, depending on the author. Douglas Adams did an exceptional job of reading, throwing just the right tones and inflections in for the best effect. About the only complaint on this part was that the scene changes were so sudden and abrupt that it could confuse you for a few seconds even when you're paying attention.
Whether you get your hands on the audio version of stick with the traditional print version, this is a wonderful title sure to entertain. I must move more of his books higher up my to be read pile.
on June 16, 2003
Of all the Adams books...and I have read the lot several times over, this one is THE BEST!!! I never get tired of re-reading this one. About the only thing I hate about Douglas Adams is that he had to go and die on us! 'So long Doug . . . rip mate and thanks!'
on December 3, 2002
While I agree with the consensus that the story is, indeed, humorous, convoluted, completely interconnected, and ultimately a confusing but inspired delight, there are plenty of reviews to that effect, so I shall narrow my focus to the specific format in which I purchased it, which is the Abridged Audio CD edition, read by the author, on which there are many fewer comments.
There are a few minor complaints about this edition. The six CDs packaged in a box of the size that, a decade ago, was used for double CDs, is novel, but the spindles hold the CDs to the tray so tightly that, removing them, one feels as if something's about to snap. The dynamic range is so great that, with any background noise at all (such as may be expected if listening in the car), the loud parts must be quite loud in order for the quiet parts to be heard. Though the cover boasts digital mastering, some high-end digital artifacts can be heard, the background squiggly sounds that one might hear in an audio stream at low dialup speeds. And, as in the case of the "Dirk Gently" audiobook, each disc contains only a single track of around 70 minutes. That last may pose a problem for listeners whose players return to the beginning of the track when stopped (luckily for me, my car player resumes where it left off); otherwise, these are, as I've said, minor issues.
On the positive side, it is a great pleasure to hear Adams' voice reading his own work. He may have been a careful and crafty writer, but he also wrote in style often closer to speech than to literate prose. There are a few bits of wordplay that work better when seen on the page; but, on the other hand, his multiple-appositive sentences are much easier to sort out when one can actually hear where the emphasis was intended.
I am not, generally, a fan of audiobooks -- not an opponent, either, but I do prefer the speed and lack of distraction of sitting down to read print. However, when there's time to listen, such as on the road trip for which I bought it, this particular book (and the book to which it is a sequel) is at least as enjoyable when read aloud by this particular reader as when I previously read the paperback. The sum of my experience -- which weighs the unimpressive format against the delight of Adams' performance, and, of course, of the story itself -- is well-represented by a solid four stars.
on April 18, 2002
Like it's predecessor, "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul" demands a second reading. It's complex, often confusing, but never less than amusing. Both books display Douglas Adams' verbal wit, which will remind most of his ever-popular "Hitchhiker" books, but are more concerned with their labyrinthine and well-structured plots. And both books offer an ending that may not make sense if the reader hasn't been paying close (and I mean CLOSE) attention. The main difference between the two is that while the ending of the former was obscure *and* painstakingly logical, the ending here feels contrived and illogical. Like a good mystery novel, the reader should have been able to see it coming given the clues presented. In "Dirk Gently" this was true; it necessitated some research to fathom, but with enough effort the reader could make sense of things. Here, not so much.
That's not to say that "Tea-Time" is a pointless endeavor. It is, after all, a Douglas Adams novel. And now that the man is gone, we should cherish everything he's ever written. In their own ways they're all gems. This gem, however, has less of a sheen.
Once again, Dirk Gently is asked to save the world. Or rather, he's asked to not screw it up so much. He's a detective who believes in the interconnectedness of everything. This point is only sporadically touched on here, but is relayed at great length in the previous book. Pity, because Adams has constructed a narrative whose tentacles dip into a myriad of different subjects and storylines, all for the most part unrelated. But he does draw them all together, seemingly against their will, in the end. The drawback, then, is that the book becomes less a cohesive novel than a collection of eclectic ideas. I'd have loved to see how Adams further involved the electric I Ching calculator (a favourite tool of the Electric Monk maybe?) in the story. But alas it comes and goes all too quickly. The same can be said for The Great Zaganza, a horoscope writer who puts private joke messages to Dirk directly in each day's newspaper. Or Elena, the wayward maid, who's locked in a battle of wills with Dirk to see who will open his refrigerator first (Why? I'll never tell). These are all wonderful ideas, pregnant enough for a whole chapter (or a whole book) in Adams' hands, but nearly wasted here. Thankfully, there are enough of them to make a mild mosaic of mystery on which the narrative balances.
The book shares one of its main themes with Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods". This is not the first time I've favourably compared Adams to Pratchett, and vice versa. I suspect if you like the wicked wit and playful literary structures of one, than you'll adore the other just as much. Adams relies less on puns than Pratchett, and more on cultural mythology, but they were equally adept at deconstructing popular images to their own ends.
Before treading here I recommend a bit of research first. Read the first "Dirk Gently" book. Since Adams doesn't repeat his introduction and explanation of the main character, those unfamiliar with him will find Dirk's methods baffling. They are explained fully, just not here. Also, it might be a good idea to brush up on your Norse mythology before entering. No need to go too deep, just a trip to Valhalla will do. And finally, remember this: pay attention to everything. Nothing is accidental here. Everything matters. Everything is connected. Enjoy!
on January 12, 2002
I have read all the volumes of THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE. In fact, I've read all of DNA's books including his nonfiction such as THE DEEPER MEANING OF LIFF and LAST CHANCE TO SEE. Of all the books, THE LONG DARK TEA-TIME OF THE SOUL is by far my favorite. I must add, there is no piece of fiction that I have read as many times as THE LONG DARK TEA-TIME OF THE SOUL.
Why would a person read this novel more that once? First, it is hilarious! The dialogs and interaction among the characters are well honed. This description of airports on the first couple of pages will induce everyone to continue reading. Second, the story and the underlying theoretical principles that guide the novel are quite complex. Thus, a person can read this novel ten times and still undercover an unanticipated wrinkle that sheds new light on the plot and subplots. Third, from an academic perspective, Dirk Gently employs an "ecological system model" as the centerpiece of his investigative tools. Gently's worldview represents an extreme form of a theory that student's commonly learn in college. Teaching the theoretical principles of the ecological system model is a stuffy and arduous enterprise. However, using Dirk Gently as an example opens the door for understanding among many college students. Back in 1991, I emailed DNA about how I was using his novel in class. He replied and was pleased with my efforts.
I love this book and feel sad that I will not have the pleasure reading more of DNA's work.
on January 6, 2002
Dirk Gently is back! Hooray! I enjoyed Tea-time almost as much as the Holistic Detective Agency but for one thing: It was very, very confusing. The first half of the book is creepy, funny, and really great. Adams is nearly at his best here. But the second half is more confusing. Now that I think about it, many things are left undone as well, unless I missed something, which I most likely did. Ah well. Read it anyway, just read it carefully and you should enjoy it.