Read the book! Read the Book! Read the BOOK!!!
The film, ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ was released in 2011 and I probably watched it at the cinema around the same time and i enjoyed it enough to watch it several times since then.
However, i came across a copy of the book from which the film was taken, at the local library and I decided it was time i read it too.
The book was originally published in 2007 and was written by Paul Torday (1946-2013). It was his first novel and since then he has published twelve more books.
The film stars Ewan McGregory as Dr Alfred Jones, a fisheries specialist and who was completely happy with his quiet, mundane life with his wife Mary. That is until he is employed by Miss Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, a investment consultant, who is turn puts him in touch with Sheikh Muhammed bin Zaidi bani Tihama, the head of the royal family in the Yeman. Sheikh Muhammed falls in love with salmon fishing whilst staying in Scotland and now wants to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen. He sees it of cultural benefit for all his people.
After a negative incident in the Yemen the British Prime Minister needs a good news story and sets his second-in-command; Paul Maxwell in the book and Patricia Maxwell in the film, to research and find a good news story involving Britain and the Yemen. In time he/she come across the story of salmon fishing in the Yemen and decide to casually, although not financially get involved with the good-will story. The story evolves as part comical farce and in fact salmon being installed in the Yemen.
I enjoyed the film when it came out, but the book was so different that i went and borrowed the film and watched it again. Although the basic story line remained the same in the both the book and the film, however the development of the story in the book is so much better. Even the characters are different, some of the characters are actually missing from the film, other characters filling in the spaces. And why the film makers felt they needed to change Paul Maxwell, an underhand devious character, to become the scatter brained Patricia Maxwell.
The end of the story is also different in the book than the film, although sadder it makes concludes the story in a more rounded way, a more complete way. And of course in the book, Alfred gets the girl, which he does in the film – eventually!
If you haven’t read the book, although it is a little dated now, and you enjoyed the film, it is worth taking the time to read it. It is a quick read and makes more sense than the film in the end.
4 out of 5 for the book and 2.5 out of 5 for the film