Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

by Paul Torday

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780156034562
  • ISBN-10: 0156034565
  • Pages: 352
  • Publication Date: 04/21/2008
  • Carton Quantity: 40

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About the Book
About the Author
Excerpts
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  • About the Book

    DEBUT FICTION

    UK BESTSELLER

    What does it take to make us believe in the impossible?

    For Dr. Alfred Jones, life is a quiet mixture of civil service at the National Centre for Fisheries Excellence and marriage to Mary—an ambitious, no-nonsense financier. But a strange turn of fate from an unexpected direction forces Jones to upend his existence and spend all of his time in pursuit of another man’s ludicrous dream. Can there be salmon in the Yemen? Science says no. But if resources are limitless and the visionary is inspired, maybe salmon fishing in the Yemen isn’t impossible. Then again, maybe nothing is.

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  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    1

    THE ORIGINS OF THE

    YEMEN SALMON PROJECT

     

    Fitzharris & Price

    Land Agents & Consultants

    St James’s Street

    London

     

    Dr Alfred Jones

    National Centre for Fisheries Excellence

    Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

    Smith Square

    London

     

    15 May

     

    Dear Dr Jones

     We have been referred to you by Peter Sullivan at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Directorate for Middle East and North Africa). We act on behalf of a client with access to very substantial funds, who has indicated his wish to sponsor a project to introduce salmon, and the sport of salmon fishing, into the Yemen.

     We recognise the challenging nature of such a project, but we have been assured that the expertise exists within your organisation to research and project manage such work, which of course would bring international recognition and very ample compensation for any fisheries scientists who became involved. Without going into any further details at this time, we would like to seek a meeting with you to identify how such a project could be initiated and resourced, so that we may report back to our client and seek further instructions.

     We wish to emphasise that this is regarded by our client, who is a very eminent Yemeni citizen, as a flagship project for his country. He has asked us to make clear that there will be no unreasonable financial constraints. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office supports this project as a symbol of Anglo-Yemeni cooperation.

     

    Yours sincerely

    (Ms) Harriet Chetwode-Talbot

     

     

    National Centre for Fisheries Excellence

    Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

    Smith Square

    London

     

    Ms Harriet Chetwode-Talbot

    Fitzharris & Price

    Land Agents & Consultants

    St James’s Street

    London

     

    1 June

     

    Dear Ms Chetwode-Talbot

     Dr Jones has asked me to thank you for your letter dated 15 May and reply as follows.

     Migratory salmonids require cool, well-oxygenated water in which to spawn. In addition, in the early stages of the salmon life cycle, a good supply of fly life indigenous to northern European rivers is necessary for the juvenile salmon parr to survive. Once the salmon parr evolves into its smolt form, it then heads downriver and enters saltwater. The salmon then makes its way to feeding grounds off Iceland, the Faroes or Greenland. Optimum sea temperatures for the salmon and its natural food sources are between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius.

     We conclude that conditions in the Yemen and its geographical location relatively remote from the North Atlantic make the project your client has proposed unfeasible, on a number of fundamental grounds. We therefore regret we will be unable to help you any further in this matter.

     

    Yours sincerely

    Ms Sally Thomas (Assistant to Dr Jones)

     

     

    Office of the Director, National Centre for Fisheries Excellence

    From: David Sugden

    To: Dr Alfred Jones

    Subject: Fitzharris & Price/ Salmon/ Yemen

    Date: 3 June

     

    Alfred

    I have just received a call from Herbert Berkshire, who is private secretary to the parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

     The FCO view is very clear that this project is to be given our fullest consideration. Notwithstanding the very real practical difficulties in the proposal from Fitzharris & Price, of which as your director I am fully aware, the FCO feel that we should seek to give what support we can to this project.

     Given the recent reductions in grant-in-aid funding for NCFE, we should not be too hasty to decline work which apparently connects us to excellent private sector funding sources.

     

    Yours

    David

     

     

    Memo

    From: Alfred Jones

    To: Director, NCFE

    Subject: Salmon/ Yemen

    Date: 3 June

     

    David

    I appreciate the points you have raised in your memo of today’s date. Having given the matter my fullest consideration, I remain unable to see how we could help Fitzharris & Price and their client. The prospect of introducing salmon to the wadis of the Hadramawt seems to me, quite frankly, risible.

     I am quite prepared to back this up with the relevant science, should anyone at the FCO require further information on our grounds for not proceeding.

     

    Alfred

     

     

    Office of the Director, National Centre for Fisheries Excellence

    From: David Sugden

    To: Dr Alfred Jones

    Subject: Salmon/ Yemen

    Date: 4 June

     

    Dr Jones

    Please accept this memo as my formal instruction to proceed to the next stage of the Yemen salmon project with Fitzharris & Price. I would like you to meet Ms Harriet Chetwode-Talbot and receive a full briefing, following which you are to develop and cost an outline scope of work for this project for me to review and forward to the FCO.

     I take full responsibility for this decision.

     

    David Sugden

     

     

    -----

    FROM: <Fred.Jones@ncfe.gov.uk>

    DATE: 4 June

    TO: <David.Sugden@ncfe.gov.uk>

    SUBJECT: Yemen Salmon Project

     

    David

    Can we talk about this? I’ll pop round to your office after the departmental meeting.

     

    Alfred

     

    -----

    FROM: <Fred.Jones@ncfe.gov.uk>

    DATE: 4 June

    TO: <Mary.Jones@interfinance.org>

    SUBJECT: Job

     

    DarlingI am being put under unreasonable pressure by David Sugden to put my name to some totally insane project dreamed up by the FCO to do with salmon being introduced into the Yemen. There have been memos flying around on this for days and I suppose I thought it was so bizarre I didn’t even mention it to you last time we spoke. I popped into David S’s office just now and said, “Look, David, be reasonable. This project is not only totally absurd and scientifically nonsensical, but if we allow our name to be involved no one in the fisheries world will ever take us seriously again.”

     Sugden was totally stone-faced. He said (pompously), “This one is coming from higher up. It isn’t just some minister at the FCO with a bee in his bonnet. It goes all the way to the top. You’ve had my instruction. Please get on with it.”

     I have not been spoken to like that since I left school. I am seriously considering handing in my resignation.

     

    Love

    Fred

     

    PS When are you back from your management training course?

     

    -----

    FROM: <Mary.Jones@interfinance.org>

    DATE: 4 June

    TO: <Fred.Jones@ncfe.gov.uk>

    SUBJECT: Financial realities

     

    FredMy annual salary is £75,000 gross and yours is £45,561. Our combined net of taxed monthly income is £7,333 out of which our mortgage takes £3,111, rates, food and other household expenses a further £1,200, and that’s before we think about car costs, holidays, and your fishing extravagances. Resign your job? Don’t be a prat.

     

    Mary

     

    PS I am home on Thursday but I have to leave on Sunday for New York for a conference on Sarbanes-Oxley.

     

     

    Memo

    From: Andrew MacFadzean, principal private secretary to the secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs

    To: Herbert Berkshire, private secretary to the parliamentary undersecretary of state, FCO

    Subject: Salmon/ Yemen Project

     

    Herbert

    Our masters tell us this project should be pushed on a bit. The sponsor is not a UK citizen, but the project can be presented as a template for Anglo-Yemeni cooperation, which of course has wider implications for perceptions of UK involvement in the Middle East.

     I think you could quietly drop a word in the ear of David Sugden, whom I believe is the director of the fisheries people at DEFRA, that a successful outcome to this project might attract the

  • Reviews
    PRAISE FOR SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
     
    “[At] its heart is Jones’s journey from skepticism to belief.” —The New York Times

    “Torday’s clear talent is striking such a variety of notes, from soulful to satirical, and making them work as one bracing, bittersweet whole.”—Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times 
     
    “Paul Torday’s debut novel is about an impossibility. It is also about belief in the impossible, and belief itself. And the remarkable thing is that a book about so deeply serious a matter can make you laugh . . . Salmon Fishing is extraordinary indeed, and a triumph.”—The Guardian (London) 

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