DOUGLAS ADAMS - "DIRK GENTLY'S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY" AND "THE LONG DARK TEATIME OF THE SOUL" (PAN)
Writing these reviews is really weird. I first read these books in 1988, when I was young and impressionable. I have dabbed with writing stories myself, and there are no books that have shaped my writing style more than these two little gems of English writing. Although, I have to admit, it's really a like-it-or-hate-it style (like the Dirk Gently books). I read them for the second time around the summer of 1993. With that, they joined the original four parts of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" in the exclusive list of books I felt compelled to read twice.
And then I suddenly wanted to read them again, last week. I needed an easy, fun read, and didn't feel like anything else. That happens sometimes. "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and "The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul" became the only two books that I've read three times.
Both titles can be read independently, and have in common with each other the main character (a detective named Dirk Gently, who concerns himself with private detecting based on the general inconnectedness of things) and the rather absurd humour. When I read them for the first time, I was really impressed. They were all new to me, Douglas Adams was god, this was cool stuff, I wanted to write like him. In the mean time I've read other funny writers, Douglas has dropped to demi-divine status...only my writing style (whenever I still find the time, which I increasingly often don't) has remained.
Revealing too much about the books could thoroughly spoil them for you. I shan't, so they won't.
What makes these books terminally funny are the concepts behind some of the stuff. Dirk Gently's way of car navigation, the totally insane characters and, indeed, the sheer holisticity of the facts that seem to tumble and warble throughout the book until they assume a neat jigsaw, just about fully solved, near the end of the book.
Needless to say, it is with a bluntheaded stubornness that I fondly embrace the rumour that Adams will write a third Dirk Gently novel in the near future. Though perhaps not as cult as Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" five-party trilogy, these two Dirk Gently books are actually at least as funny, but on a different level. And an old friend even told me they're pretty literary. Me being a leisure reader, of course, I failed to notice any of that.
DGHDA Released 1997, ISBN 0-330-30162-4
TLDTOTS Released 1988, ISBN 0-330-30955-2
Written September 1999
Go to the Official Douglas Adams Web Site
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