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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by…

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

by Douglas Adams

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Dirk Gently (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,868192356 (3.9)2 / 341
The investigations of Dirk Gently, a private detective who is more interested in telekinesis, quantum mechanics and lunch than fiddling around with fingerprint powders, produce startling and unexpected results.
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English (188)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (192)
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
I last read this when I was really young and was shortly getting off a fantastic kick of HHGttG wanting MORE, as, I assume, most people do when they get on a Douglas Adams kick.

Like the other series, every page is filled with wonderfully witty and fascinating and wise (crack) quotes that will delight and amaze and generally blow most writing away by the sheer audacity.

To think that Douglas Adams never considered himself a writer! Truly amazing. And of course us fans just snicker at that and keep reading.

I admit to really liking this but not loving it as much as the Hitchhiker series. I don't know. Maybe I just wanted more of the idiot and less of the incomprehensible mystic in systems-theory sheep's clothing.

What can I say? As an adult, I'm doing an about-face and saying that this might be better by far. It's still wacky and zany and full of oddball moments, but it's closer to Earth... mostly... just not always in the same time-zone. :) And on top of that, it was fun as hell getting into all the old computer stuff and getting into the poetry and the music and ESPECIALLY the problem of the couch.

The couch stayed with me all these years and it was such a wonderful character. It almost reaches the same heights as a certain fridge in the next book. Of which I'm doing a re-read next. :)

Now, to be sure, I probably wouldn't have done a re-read at all if it hadn't been for the BBC tv production of the same name, and even as I was watching it I was going... "Is this remotely the same?"

Definitive answer: SOME. lol. Not all that much. Characters, some. Situations, hints. Zany? That's full-tilt. :) All said, no complaints on either side of the tv screen. )

I'm glad to be doing all of the above. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
DNF @ 20%.
I enjoyed tv-adaptation (season 1 at least, before all the drama about producers), but this book was so hard to get through. I read at least 100 pages and don't care about any of characters or the story itself. Maybe it's lost in translation (I'm reading this in russian), but I didn't get the humor.
Not for me, unfortunately:/ ( )
  Alevis | May 17, 2020 |
According to the back cover of my copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams was a "master of wacky words and even wackier tales." I believe that to be true, which more than anything reminds me of how little I value wackiness. ( )
  bgramman | May 9, 2020 |
It's hard not to imagine that readers that know Douglas Adams only from his "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series will come away from "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" a bit disappointed. The laughs don't come as fast here, the universe that Adams describes doesn't feel as huge and wild. "Dirk Gently" is really a much more sedate affair: unlike the "Hitchhiker" books, jokes, one-liners, and philosophical musings don't feel like they're fighting each other for space. Adams takes his time describing his settings and sketching out his characters, and book's plot could almost be described, in places, as "slow": it's almost as if Adams, who'd already sold a lot of books, were trying to prove that he could also write a "real" novel, not just a book-length comedy script. If that was his reason for writing "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency," he succeeded. While this one isn't as much fun as his earlier work, Adams still manages to talk about big ideas -- space-time, causality, the interconnectedness of all things -- with a deft, light touch. It successfully satirizes superannuated Cambridge dons, the software industry and, in a sense, the detective novel in general. Adams's dialogue is still a shade too clever: his characters' insults and expressions always seem to hit the mark a bit too perfectly. At the same time, the author still manages to make them seem believable as people, which is no mean feat. It takes a pretty good writer -- of any genre -- to pull that off.

This seems particularly worth mentioning since "Dirk Gently" might be thought of as a book-length reveal of one of its least likable characters, Michael Wenton-Weakes. The title character is the book's focal point and obvious star, a jobbing, low-rent spacetime-roving private eye that'll seem pretty familiar to "Dr. Who" viewers. Still, I was impressed that much of the book's plot could be said to turn on its antagonist's character, rather than his actions. I wasn't quite expecting Adams to take such a literary approach, and was impressed that he tied things up the way he did. Lastly, I also liked this one because it felt simultaneously close, in cultural and temporal terms, and rather far away. To say that "Dirk Gently" is a prime exercise in British eccentricity is putting it mildly. But, even though it discusses PC software and car phones, it's a sort Britishness that precedes the wave of globalization that washed over the planet in the last decade or so of the twentieth century and may not be available to even the most anti-EU Briton today. And even here, we see real estate agents looking for disused buildings in run-down areas of London to turn into pricey residential spaces. So close, but yet so far away. Not a great book, but recommended to avowed fans of Douglas Adams and to fans of humorous writing in general. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Apr 17, 2020 |
This book, although authored by [a: Douglas Adams|4|Douglas Adams|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1189120061p2/4.jpg], wasn't as much humorous as his Hitchhiker series. But it did have its moments. It had the absurd situations, some nonsensical humor and randomness which are quintessentially [a: Douglas Adams|4|Douglas Adams|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1189120061p2/4.jpg].

It had its fair share of characters, varying in their degree of life: Alive, Dead, and Electric. I read for the first time what being a ghost could be like. His viewpoint was spot on, I think. The pulsating body, their impermanence seemed all too real. I liked the portrayal of the Electric Monk.

I liked the description of the time machine's computer: you didn't have to learn to use it, instead the computer learns how you want it to be used.

I was relieved to see everything come together in the end. The story had seemed too random for it to happen ( )
  Govindap11 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Douglas Adamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boyd, BillyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carter, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colman, OliviaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahlén, KimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maggs, DirkDirectorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sachs, AndrewNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic -The author
To my mother, who liked the bit about the horse
Janet Thrift
First words
This time there would be no witnesses.
Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Wikipedia description: Dirk bills himself as a "holistic detective" who makes use of "the fundamental interconnectedness of all things" to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. This involves running up large expense accounts and then claiming that every item (such as needing to go to a tropical beach in the Bahamas for three weeks) was, due to the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things", actually a vital part of the investigation. Challenged on this point in the first novel, he claims that he cannot in fairness be considered to have ripped anybody off, because none of his clients have paid him yet. He maintains an office at 33a Peckender St. N1 London, with telephone number 01-354 9112 (407-2882 in the advertising campaign for the book).
Gently has an odd facility for accurate assumptions, as every wild guess he makes turns out to be true. Once a student at St. Cedd's College, Cambridge, he left in disgrace when he attempted to acquire money by selling exam papers for the upcoming tests. His fellow students were convinced that he had produced the papers under hypnosis—in reality, he had simply studied previous papers and determined potential patterns in the questions. However when his papers turned out to be exactly the same as the real papers, to the very comma, he was arrested and sent to prison.
Haiku summary
Dirk Gently says: 'All
things are fundamentally
Your usual, run-
of-the-mill detective-time
travel-ghost story.

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