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The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988)

by Douglas Adams

Series: Dirk Gently (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,035107463 (3.87)208
Dirk Gently has fallen on hard times and dresses as a gypsy woman, using his irritatingly accurate clairvoyant powers to read palms. He is saved when a frantic client turns up with a ludicrous story about being stalked by a goblin waving a contract accompanied by a hairy, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. When Detective Superintendent Gilks decides a headless body found in a sealed room is the result of a particularly irritating suicide, Dirk is plunged into a mystery where the interconnectedness of all things is tested to the limit.… (more)
Recently added bygluegun, Nrsima, jimsowden, private library, redheadedhill, emrsalgado, gnomesandclary94, mncoder
  1. 283
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» See also 208 mentions

English (105)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
A bit weak and, I now realize, so typical of its time. I believe I read this book in my teenage years. ( )
  themulhern | Jun 25, 2021 |
Rewarding in much the same ways as my re-read of the first, and for much the same reasons. There are broad parallels in premise, but for me it was a consistent style rather than formulaic. (It's worth acknowledging, his Gently books are distinct from his Hitchhiker books, by no means a given.)

Rather than Coleridge and time travel, here Gently is caught in the repercussions of an enduring squabble between Odin & Thor, a conflict spilling into the mortal world and slowly worsening as the gods become ever less relevant to humanity.

And in place of the world of corporate software design, the age-old business of music publishing.

Continuing in the vein set by the first novel, Adams deploys an armada of off-kilter concepts:
- penguins and memories in cabin trunks (memory palace)
- a commercial contract between Odin & an advertising lawyer
- not so much parallel worlds as overlapping worlds -- one location in Midgard does not substitute for another in Asgard, rather the building we know as Saint Pancras Station is Valhalla [227]
- instead of a sofa stuck on a stair, a fridge spawns a new god (but a Coca-Cola machine briefly sits on a stair)
- hiding behind a molecule; shifting universe allows passage between
- the serious side of "holistic detection": free association leading to insights, such as "words used carelessly, as if they did not matter in any serious way, often allowed otherwise well-guarded truths to seep through"; in this way, Gently surmises that immortals are behind elsewise inexplicable events [191]
- the shyster side of "holistic detection" continues, with everything Gently does potentially billable to the client

Adams takes good-natured swipes at the private eye genre, here; repeating the first book's joke about the "first rule of detection" -- that detectives should dress in such a way as to not resemble private detectives -- and then expanding on it; also, in homage to Sherlock Holmes: "If it could not possibly be done, then obviously it had been done impossibly." [272] ( )
  elenchus | Jun 18, 2021 |
murder and mayhem when Odin contracts for peace in declining years
  ritaer | Jun 4, 2021 |
It's like American Gods, but not as good. ( )
  isovector | Dec 13, 2020 |
Meh. I thought I'd give Adams a chance. I can see why some might like his writing but his style is not my cup of tea. It is infused with an ebullience to be clever and witty seemingly for the sake of being clever and witty, and with a distracting flare for sensuous scenery at the expense of the narrative pace. ( )
  m.j.brown | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
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It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the expression "as pretty as an airport".
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Dirk Gently has fallen on hard times and dresses as a gypsy woman, using his irritatingly accurate clairvoyant powers to read palms. He is saved when a frantic client turns up with a ludicrous story about being stalked by a goblin waving a contract accompanied by a hairy, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. When Detective Superintendent Gilks decides a headless body found in a sealed room is the result of a particularly irritating suicide, Dirk is plunged into a mystery where the interconnectedness of all things is tested to the limit.

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