12 October 2012

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams

I consider myself to be a moderately serious Anglophile - particularly when it comes to books. I mean, I've been to a couple of Jane Austen events, seen several Andrew Lloyd Webber productions, memorized Bridget Jones, and had high Victorian tea at a big hotel in London that I've since forgotten the name of - the Regency, maybe? I don't remember because I was 13 and at that age all I could think about was how desperately I wanted to sink into the floor in a puddle of my own hormones.

This is how it feels to be a teenager. 

So imagine my surprise and dismay when I realized that I'd skipped Douglas Adams' entire catalogue! I promptly ordered Dirk Gently from my library and put Hitchiker's Guide on my Classics Club list, and I was super-excited to start; after all, I was a theater/sci-fi nerd in high school!

And dudes, I... I think maybe Douglas Adams is not my thing? Just in a very overall sense, not in the "I hated every minute of this book" sense, which I most assuredly did NOT. Much of it was quite clever. But I feel like Adams and Pratchett are similarly enamored of their own cleverness, so the plots don't quite line up? Even though there are lines like these:

"He had extracted himself from the Cambridge one-way system by the usual method, which involved going round and round it faster and faster until he achieved a sort of escape velocity and flew off at a tangent in a random direction, which he was now trying to identify and correct for." (p. 96)


"Dirk turned away and sagged sideways off his chair, much as the sitter for 'The Thinker' probably did when Rodin went off to be excused." (p. 217)

OKAY I CHUCKLED AT THAT. I am, after all, an art history major with a keen appreciation of art-y stuff, and also an appreciation of how Adams chose his joke carefully so that people on pretty much any part of the art-understanding spectrum would find it funny.

But can we talk about Chapter 26, which miiiight be my favorite chapter ever with the possible exception of Chapter 13 of The French Lieutenant's Woman? Because it starts on a train with a bunch of drunks and turns subtly into the beginning of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." When I realized what was happening, I wanted to get up out of bed and run around the room like Rocky, except it was the middle of the night and I was cozy so I settled for a book nerd wriggle.

Don't tell me you don't know what those are. You know you do.

7.5 out of 11 hitchikers, Fnordlings.