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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency…
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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (original 1987; edition 1988)

by Douglas Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,525161271 (3.9)2 / 300
Member:HatsForMice
Title:Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Authors:Douglas Adams
Info:Pan Books (1988), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Sci-Fi, Comedy, Bit Weird

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Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (1987)

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English (159)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All (161)
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
As a huge fan of Hitchhiker's Guide, I was surprised to know that another fiction existed by same author. Set in space-time fantasy world and promise of incredulity of story only piqued my interest more. Naturally, I got hold of book and started reading. It started, ahem, confusingly, with 5 parallel plots. Chapter on college dinner was one somewhat coherent but I found it boring and was waiting for the point of it. Of course, I didn't know at that time that it will be the biggest point later on. I glossed over "Kubla Khan" poetry since I am not much interested in poetry in general, and vintage non-rhyming poetry in particular. Story started becoming interesting when horse appeared in the bathroom. And then it picked up speed.

After Gordon's death till almost last few chapters - when Michael Wednesday got into some incident at train station and Dirk and Richard went to meet Professor again - story was very coherent, and absolutely page turner. Of course, not all things made sense, but there was expectations that they will by the end of the book.

Except they didn't. I didn't quite get the ending. I had all but forgotten of salt cellar conjuring trick and note in professor's room. I went back and re-read those chapters but didn't think that those incidents were more absurd than anything else happening around. Brief googling post completion of book kind of provided key points, and made me realize about knowing importance of Kubla Khan and related history in understanding the book. If there were other cultural jokes, as some reviewers have said, they were lost on me coming from different country.

And lastly, I found it unsettling that not all threads were closed off. Specially about what was point of Gordon's ghost going about and what role he played at all? In fact, I really liked description of life from ghost's point of view - an rare angle to take - and was disappointed nothing came of it. Why and how Susan's call came to professors house at last minute, conveniently attributed to peculiarities of British Telecom? When alien ghost sent out an Electric Monk, there was no mention of horse, and Monk's own history had to be with video game related damage rather than spaceship's repair. And didn't Monk come from far away planet where Professor went to get some nose powder? But wasn't ship damaged on Earth?

I really wanted to like this book, and I did in parts some descriptions, but not all things were explained, not all loose ends tied, and not all cultural and history references understood. Hence the 3 star. ( )
  ashishg | Apr 13, 2017 |
It gets five stars for laughs because I was entertained throughout, but unfortunately I found the plot and pacing disorganized and ill-structured. It took us so long to meet Dirk Gently, and, although all the prior events are connected to the ultimate solution, they dragged on without direction. Also Dirk Gently doesn't solve anything, really. It's more just that he's present while all these things are happening. Which might be the point of Dirk and his sort of made-up detection, but to my mind it would have been better if, whether on purpose or by accident, he actually did a bit more mystery-solving. He's also not as staggeringly good a character as I hoped for, when we meet him at last. I expected more charm and panache. He wasn't bad! But he wasn't Great.

That all said I liked a lot of the ideas. I liked Adams' obsession with computing as it stood in the 80s, there's a lot of [b:Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid|24113|Gödel, Escher, Bach An Eternal Golden Braid|Douglas R. Hofstadter|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1428732588s/24113.jpg|850076] to it. I was tickled by the 'person from Porlock' solution. I like Adams and his books are charming to read, but I thought this one could've been tightened up a lot more. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Weer een boek in de categorie 'aardig'. Wat mij betreft geen topper.

( )
  EdwinKort | Mar 23, 2017 |
Filled with seemingly random absurdities that fall into place near the end of the book. I suspect a re-reading would help in fully grasping its 'fundamental interconnectedness', which is Dirk's definition of holistic. ( )
  wandaly | Mar 21, 2017 |
3.5 ( )
  staceyfronczak | Mar 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Douglasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, Douglas NoëlNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeans, LionelCover illustrationsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, HilkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
A thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic -The author
Dedication
To my mother, who liked the bit about the horse
Janet Thrift
First words
This time there would be no witnesses.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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
Interconnected."
(passion4reading)
Your usual, run-
Of-the-mill detective-time
Travel-ghost story.
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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