Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
It’s nearly impossible to describe the plot of this book, since there’s so much going on. Suffice it to say that it involves a murder, a mechanical monk (who believes things so you don’t have to), an extremely dull dinner at St. Cedd’s College, Cambridge, a ghost, a cutting-edge (in 1986) computer program, a conjuring trick, a time machine, and the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. There’s also some musings on Schrödinger’s cat, a sliver of romance, and a fairly staggering number of coincidences that ultimately demonstrate “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.” In short, it’s a wacky sci-fi rollercoaster of a read, and fans of the “Hitchhiker” books should really enjoy it.
Normally this is the point at which I’d talk about what I liked, what I didn’t like, and my overall opinion of the book. But for some reason, I don’t have much else to say about it. I found it a very enjoyable read and laughed aloud several times (often in public). There were a few parts where the scientific explanations came dangerously close to going over my head, but I was always able to follow what was going on. I would have liked a little more character development for Richard, who is pretty much the only everyman in a world populated by nutcases. But Dirk Gently is absolutely delightful, especially when he’s bamboozling old ladies into paying for his trips to the Bahamas — because although he’s been hired to find their lost cats, the vacations are all part of his process. (OK, so I have things to say about it after all!) In short, I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for some humorous science fiction. I plan to read the sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, one of these days.
4 thoughts on “Review: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”
I’m going to have to re-read this one of these days – my uncle gave it to me for my birthday when I was … 11? 12? I was in primary school, anyway. And I read it, and quite a bit was over my head but two things I’ve always remembered: the monk (my memory is that he spent the whole time on a horse, and… everything was pink? Not sure where that impression comes from), and the couch that was stuck in the stairway, and he had his computer going through all the possible configurations for getting it unstuck but it was impossible. I’ve always remembered that couch! Including every time I move house and it involves getting furniture up staircases!!
I haven’t read Tea-Time yet either, but I have a copy – I reckon I should read the two of them together, maybe.
Your memory of the monk and everything being pink is spot-on! (Of course, things aren’t really pink — the monk just Believes they are.) The couch bit was hysterical, too, and it never really got resolved! I think it just stayed stuck in the stairwell forever, if I’m remembering correctly.
Ah! I’m so glad you commented on my blog so that I could find yours…because I pretty much love or want to read ALL of the books you’ve reviewed in the past few weeks. Clearly someone I should be following.
I’ve actually never read this one, but I have read Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul–which I loved. It was one of the favorite books of a guy I liked (now my boyfriend), and he told me you could just skip the first because the second was better. I hope that you have more to say about it when you read it! And that you decide to practice Zen Driving. 😛
Wow, thanks! 🙂 Glad you found me, then!
Thanks for the input on The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. I’d definitely like to read it sometime soon. I think Zen Driving would be extremely difficult for me, though. I’m more into Raging at the Stupidity of Others Driving.