The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2)

ISBN: 1597770086
ISBN 13: 9781597770088
By: Douglas Adams

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Comedy Fantasy Favorites Fiction Humour Mystery Sci Fi Sci Fi Fantasy Science Fiction To Read

About this book

When a passenger check-in desk at London's Heathrow Airport disappears in a ball of orange flame, the explosion is deemed an act of God. But which god, wonders holistic detective Dirk Gently? What god would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch the 3:37 to Oslo?And what has this to do with Dirk's latest—and late—client, found only this morning with his head revolving atop the hit record "Hot Potato"?Amid the hostile attentions of a stray eagle and the trauma of a very dirty refrigerator, super-sleuth Dirk Gently will once again solve the mysteries of the universe...

Reader's Thoughts

Jayne Ryan

I loved this book in a fun, summer evening bed-time reading kind of way. I have never read anything by Douglas Adams before, but I had seen the Hitch Hiker’s series on TV as a teenager and found myself looking seriously at my older brother and his friends, as they laughed their way through it.So I came to Dirk Gently out-of-order, starting with this book which supercedes ’Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.’ In all probability, and with Adams’ theory of the ‘fundamental interconnectedness of all things,’ it may well be the best place to jump right in.Beyond quirky, and jumping from one character to another, I nearly gave up on the book, thinking there actually wasn’t very much connectedness going on at all. But slowly I came to love Dirk, for his unending willingness to see where the universe would take him, his belief that he would end up where he needed to be, and his preference for throwing his refrigerator away rather than cleaning it out.By the end of the book I was cheering for Dirk, and Adam’s ability to write from the feeling of the soul rather than the intellect won me over. I can’t wait to read the first book. What a shame he passed away before he completed the third book of the series.

Allen Brown

A book of complete genius. Whilst not laugh-out-loud funny as the Hitchhikers Guide series, this is neither a radio play masquerading as a book nor a five-book trilogy of a dead-horse flogger: it is actually written as a book. The recent TV adaptations did this book no favours. For the full-on experience of Adams' insanity, read the book.

Pvw

Maybe the only merit of this book is that it shows how The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy could have gone terribly wrong. Why, the 'Hitchhiker's Guide' is a buch of strange and witty ideas that have no direction and almost can't work together. Yet, through the excellent pace and the hilariously funny writing style, Douglas Adams pulls it off and made it into the great sci-fi comedy it became.Here, we again have weird ideas (even involving scandinavion gods) but, really, none of it works. The jokes are few and mostly weak attempts at humour. Because the investigation by Dirk Gently and the girl Kate is just a directionless sequence of silly events happening, there is no tension whatsoever.Since the characters are only slaves to the strange plot twists, they don't have an actual personality so to speak of. For instance, main character Dirk Gently is mostly incredibly stupid when Adams needs him for slapstick humour. But when the plot needs to be advanced at some point, Gently very temporarily becomes a genious that would outsmart even Spade and Marlowe.This is a book that, for the loving memory of Douglas Adams, had better be forgotten.

Jon

Unfortunately, Adams' sequel to Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency isn't as tightly-written as its predecessor. On the sentence level, Adams is still writing furiously funny jokes, but The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul ends up feeling like first-class humor wrapped loosely around second-class plot and characters. Adams has been accused of writing punchlines rather than plots, and it shows in this book perhaps more so than anywhere else. I also thought the book's flow suffered greatly in places, with important scenes not having enough space devoted to their development (especially in the last few pages, such as the Valhalla scene). In addition, Dirk Gently's "fundamental interconnectedness" approach to investigation--where everything is important because it's linked to everything else--is still present here, but the linked items don't line up as neatly as they did in the first book. I also found the conclusion lacking: at the end of Dirk Gently's..., I said "Fantastic!" aloud to the room around me; at the end of The Long, Dark... I turned the page and, when there was nothing else to read, said aloud, "That's it?" So: five stars for humor, but minus two for poor plot and flow.

Thorir2007

Unlike his “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series (a collection of humorous vignettes without much of a plot, continuity, or character development), Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently series (two novels and some sketches for a third one, included in the “Salmon of Doubt”) is in fact literature of the first degree. In the second novel, “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul,” Dirk Gently, a private “holistic” investigator (an eccentric slob, perpetually broke, capricious, silly, and wonderfully insightful), while minding his client’s (Kate, a somewhat confused gal from New York) interests, unravels a pseudo-conspiracy involving the Norse gods (all of them), in which the gods are the victims.Employing his own special methods (which differ from Sherlock Holmes’ methods in that Dirk has a soft spot for the impossible and does not like to dismiss it), Dirk manages to a) side with the gods b) save them c) punish the guilty d) help his client e) end up broke again. The last bit is fine by him (in the previous novel, he sent a bill to a client of his, whose missing cat he was supposed to find, with just one item on it, “Saving the Universe. No charge”).Laced with Adams’ trademark humor, this novel certainly puts its author in the same category with Mark Twain, Chekhov, and Maupassant. I’m not exaggerating.

Simon Turney

It's not often that a standalone novel spawns a sequel that is actually better than the first, but that is what Adams achieved with this second Dirk Gently novel.'Teatime' is, to me, an improvement on the first book in two particular ways:1. The character interaction is stepped up to the point where every encounter and conversation makes me belly laugh until I hurt.2. The plot is tighter and less rambling than the first. While that was a strength of Dirk Gently 1, it would have been too much to do it again. This plot is a good, solid, fantasy/sci-fi/mystery one that builds beautifully.Certain passages stand out. I will always remember and love the opening scene with the airport, Dirk's navigation and the car accident, and Dirk with the eagle.Dirk becomes even funnier and more complex in this second outing and, given the wonderful addition of characters like Kate Schechter and Thor, it just couldn't be better.A brilliant novel and unsurpassed in the field of comedy literature for me.

Jerzy

Lots of hilarious moments, though the pacing's not quite up to the level set in the first Dirk Gently book. The ending especially feels rushed - he spends a long time building up this fantastic web of complexity, and then rips it down with a climax and ending that together are barely longer than "But it all worked out okay in the end."But, as a math student working through too many proofs right now, I really love Dirk's way of thinking! ...especially his reversal of Sherlock-Holmes-style logic:"What was the Sherlock Holmes principle? 'Once you have discounted the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.' ""I reject that entirely," said Dirk sharply. "The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks. How often have you been presented with an apparently rational explanation of something that works in all respects other than one, which is just that it is hopelessly improbable? Your instinct is to say, 'Yes, but he or she simply wouldn't do that.' ""Well, it happened to me today, in fact," replied Kate."Ah, yes," said Dirk, slapping the table and making the glasses jump, "your girl in the wheelchair--a perfect example. The idea that she is somehow receiving yesterday's stock market prices apparently out of thin air is merely impossible, and therefore must be the case, because the idea that she is maintaining an immensely complex and laborious hoax of no benefit to herself is hopelessly improbable. The first idea merely supposes that there is something we don't know about, and God knows there are enough of those. The second, however, runs contrary to something fundamental and human which we do know about. We should therefore be very suspicious of it and all its specious rationality."Words to live by. Stay open-minded, because there's a lot we don't know about.

Kate K. F.

I have mixed feelings about this book but then Adams is an author who only kind of works for me. In Long Dark Tea-Time, the Norse gods are creating trouble in England and Dirk ends up mixed up with them. In theory, Dirk is solving a mystery about men who died due to a demon but the plot isn't really the point. The idea of the book seems to be discussions into fate, belief and other topics with a strange sort of humor thrown in. I found some of the characters fascinating such as Kate who is pulled into the mess and the portrayals of the Norse gods and Valhalla, but the story itself left me disappointed. I haven't read a lot of Adams, Terry Pratchett is my go to fantasy humor author, because to me he manages better the balance of character, plot and humor.I'd recommend this book to someone who enjoys Adams and is curious to read another take on the Norse gods, but the end left me disappointed.

Genevieve

This is an interesting enough book, but it's really for dedicated fans of Douglas Adams only. The thin plot wanders along, but the wonderfully humorous descriptions and non sequiturs will keep fans of Adams reading. I love the fridge that had "begun seriously to lurk" in the kitchen. Adams wonderful descriptive prose aside, the book suffers from a lack of tension and a lack of interesting characters. Gently & Kate are, frankly, not particularly interesting people. This is not the masterpiece that is Hitchhiker, but if you've read all of Adams Hitchhiker books more than once, then you'll enjoy this novel. If you haven't read Adams work before, don't start here.

Lo

I loved the Hitchhiker's Guide when I was 12, but I just couldn't get into Dirk Gently. Probably because the first Dirk Gently book begins so very oddly and slowly. Too bad I didn't start here, because this one gets going more quickly. It's funny, odd, but best of all has a sort of odd philosophy running throughout all the events, and especially Dirk's choices. He's the patron saint for those of us who sometimes do things that make no sense to others, but it all works out in the end. Not necessarily because we know what we're doing, but because the universe is like that. HGTTG is full of elaborate set pieces that let Adams' humor shine. But when it comes to a satisfying story and lovable characters, this will always be my favorite. Poor Adams died only a couple days before he was supposed to speak at my college, but the real tragedy in my mind has always been that he never finished the third Gently book.

Phillip

This book is good but does not live up to the standards of either the first Hitchhiker's book nor of the first Dirk Gently, novel that I enjoyed almost as much as the first Hitchhiker book.The first Dirk Gently novel was quirky and engaged with spiritual and psychic phenomenon in much the way that Adams engaged in the concepts of science in the Hitchhiker books. The first Dirk Gently novel delivered on quirky characters and situations. The second book is pretty pedestrian. There is an unusual murder, but the majority of the book is about a conflict between Norse gods. The name sake of the novel (Dirk Gently) puts in spotty appearances and the author is not able to pull off demonstrating an interconnectedness between the stories that would make it a stark component of the story.In the end if isn't a bad book. If you are desperate for more Adams than it is better than nothing. But it doesn't sing the way his other works do.--------Have just reread the book for the second time within 2 or 3 weeks. I enjoyed it more the second time. The book has a weird sort of wisdom to it.

Laura

Sometimes, even if you’re Thor, it’s very hard to get to Oslo. At least, if you’re Thor in a universe where humans created gods, and the gods need ongoing worship to exist. See generally http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php.... This book might have been my introduction to the idea that humans created gods in our own image. And the pathos of being a being created to be worshipped once the worship stops. It also may have been the first book I read where a lawyer and an advertising executive got together to do something really nasty to some naïve . . . being. . . using a cleverly written contract. That might have had some impact on how I approach questions of substantive unconscionability in contract cases. Hm. Anyhoo, a lot of the plot happens off the page in this book and must be inferred from what happens. Some of it – like why an eagle keeps attacking Dirk, who is not much of a Sisyphean figure and why Thor travels around with his own Coke vending machine – are explained at the end, more or less, but others – like why Odin’s man servant has a giant green monster with a scythe and why Dirk’s refrigerator ended up there – are left as exercises for the reader. As well as what exactly Dirk did to keep a particular contract clause from being enforced . . . though Thor finding his inner Thor-ness rendered some of that moot. Dirk Gently of this book is much less like The Doctor of Doctor Who than the Dirk Gently of the Holistic Detective Agency. He’s drifting towards Susan Sto Helit of Discworld (Death’s adopted granddaughter and more than a little bit eldritch herself, despite her stark skepticism of the supernatural) and Shadow of American Gods (though Shadow lacks Dirk’s lively imagination). A more-or-less human character who can see the divine drama, be profoundly moved by it, and figure out the trick of it. I would have loved to have seen where DNA took it. It is also, quietly, freaking hilarious.

Tracey

Continuing in my Douglas Adams re-read, I checked out Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul from the library, as I seem to have misplaced my copy. The story opens with Kate Schechter attempting to catch a flight to Oslo, even though Fate seems to be conspiring against her. An explosion, deemed an "act of God" confounds her plans. She becomes involved in the events around whom the god involved in the aforementioned act are developing. Meanwhile, Dirk Gently, holistic detective, remembers that he has a client, with whom he was supposed to meet about five hours previous to his realization. He arrives a little too late to assist with the problem for which he is hired, but ends up doing some detective work anyways. The two protagonists eventually collide (literally) and the story proceeds from there. This novel posits the question "What happens to the immortal gods once humanity is done with them?"; a theme also explored by Neil Gaiman's American Gods :: checks publication dates:: Yes, Douglas was first, by about 12 years, but both are very good, IMHO. Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul is, I believe, a better written book than its predecessor, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Adams seems to have a better grip on where he wants to go with the story. Recommended to those who like their alternative universes well-leavened with humour.

John Wiswell

Adams' bizarre book is more of an adventure than a mystery, and more of a picaresque than an adventure. It's true, this plot wanders and is flimsy at times, but Adams always makes up for it with clever insights and hilarious jokes. Minor events mushroom at the end to unexpected relevance, a very bold literary move that would be a sign of laziness if these moves didn't work and we didn't recognize Adams' competence as a writer from the execution of his humor throughout. Fantasy readers and Adams' fans will have an easier time with some of the leaps in logic (such as what happens to a god when nobody believes in it), and most readers shouldn't expect a hardline plot after the first hundred pages of inaction and wild action. You go along with Adams because of his creativity, exhibited in such things as derogatory horoscopes, depressed deities and a philosophical calculater. His writing style is so absurd that, unless you don't hitch onto the entertainment value and profound ramifications, you ought to appreciate the absurd plotting that works as its product.

F.R.

As much as I enjoyed ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’, I have to say that ‘The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul’ is the better book. The reason for that is simple – you get more Dirk for your pound! Whereas it was halfway through before this most intriguing of detectives put in an appearance in the first novel, here he arrives in Chapter Three – waging a war with his cleaner as to which of them is actually going to open the fridge door (something which hasn’t been done in over three months) and clean out whatever he or she finds within. It’s a highly amusing vignette, and one which Adams has the genius to turn into a major plot point.Having now re-read the whole canon, I think I’m qualified to examine Dirk Gently as a detective – and I find he actually has a great deal in common with Sherlock Holmes. (A man with whom he has fundamental differences on the subject of eliminating the impossible). Like Holmes he seems to be asexual, with a love of clutter and a great deal of esoteric information at his fingertips. Indeed he is possibly even more observant than Sherlock, as there are things that Dirk would spot which Sherlock would never give a moment’s credence to. Unfortunately though, there isn’t a John Watson equivalent on the scene to recount episode after episode of this great man’s adventures, but then Gently may be an even more infuriating person to hang around with than his Baker Street colleague.Indeed this tale opens with Gently’s secretary, having finally abandoned him, working at the check-in at Heathrow Terminal Two. When a passenger can’t board a plane the check-in desk shoots suddenly, and inexplicably, hundreds of feet into the air. From there we encounter angry eagles, mysterious Coke machines, one of the most truly bizarre murders in fiction (which is then, truly bizarrely, labelled a suicide by the police) and the entrance to Valhalla through London’s St Pancras station. Once again Adams’ plotting is not as strong as it could be, and the final quarter does drag somewhat, but it’s brilliantly written and the jokes do keep coming.It is a real shame that Adams died and we don’t have half a dozen more Gently tales (though given his productivity, that probably would have been unlikely anyway). But at least we have the two, and I promise it won’t be another twenty years before I re-read them again.

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