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.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.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.Jeremy
The first Dirk Gently was deeply flawed, but I liked it. This one showed a lot of promise, at least for me, given my fondness for mythology. But really...I don't have a lot to say about it. It reminds me somewhat of Mostly Harmless: A wandering, mean-spirited, poorly-paced, and very, very confused novel without the high quality of humor present in most of Adams' oeuvre. The "ending" (HA!) is at best, awkward, and at worst, complete crap. I felt no sense of resolution, and the first time I read the book, had to reread the last few chapters a few times just to make sure I knew what was going on. There are very, very few books I have this problem with, so I have difficulty believing that the problem is on my end. It just feels like old Doug phoned this one in.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.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.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.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.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.Harry Kane
I have yet to see or hear a coherent explanation why American Gods breaks records, whereas this gem, which even Gaiman himself I think would agree is in quite a higher league, never did make a splash. Just because it's not set in America? That would be pathetic.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.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.Robert
Though I love D.A. this was a disappointing work. Very funny at times but his absurd style together with his desire to only hint at major plot points, left me wondering what the hell was actually going on in the end. Did an old fridge really just spawn a new God that killed the bad guys? And what the hell was that eagle doing? Rushed ending, very few pieces tied. However, I laughed well - especially the line that goes something like, "I've had such a bad day that it would make Saint Francis of Assisi want to kick a baby."Jenz
I hate lengthy descriptions. Once descriptive or expositive text goes past a few sentences, I tend to start skimming. It helps that Douglas Adams puts most of his humor into those parts, but still, I have to admit to doing a fair bit of skimming in the early parts of this one.Once we finally got to some action, I did get hooked in, but the plot wanders off from time to time. There's a good deal of set up with the mysterious boy in the murdered client's house; and then, poof, you never see or hear about him again.The ending reminded me of the accusation thrown at the Nick and Nora characters in the movie "Murder by Death": the last-minute introduction of withheld information so as to wrap up the end in a surprise that manages to be rather dissatisfying.So, the opening and ending are the weakest parts. In between is Adams's trademark humor and quirky characters, which was very definitely enjoyable and worth a read. If you're into that sort of thing.Enough reviews said positive things that I'm letting myself complain more than usual, just to point out the drawbacks. That said, I'll probably eventually reread it.Madeline
Once again, rather than attempt to describe the latest of holistic detective Dirk Gently's adventures, I will instead present a selection of completely random quotes from the book. They really have nothing to do with each other, but I like them."It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression 'As pretty as an airport.'Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort. This ugliness arises because airports are full of people who are tired, cross, and have just discovered that their luggage has landed in Murmansk (Murmansk airport is the only known exception to this otherwise infallible rule), and architects have on the whole tried to reflect this in their designs.""Perhaps it would save time if he went back to get his car, but then again it was only a short distance, and he had a tremendous propensity for getting lost when driving. This was largely because of his 'Zen' method of navigation, which was simply to find any car that looked as if it knew where it was going and follow it. The results were more often surprising than successful, but he felt it was worth it for the sake of the few occasions when it was both.""Confuse your enemy, he thought. It was a little like phoning somebody up, and saying 'Yes? Hello?' in a testy voice when they answered, which was one of Dirk's favorite methods of whiling away long, hot summer afternoons."Oh, Douglas Adams. Shine on, you crazy diamond.