Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
So, it took me quite a while to read this book. Part of that was because I had to return my first copy and the second took a long time arriving. Part of that was because, hey, it was Christmas! And then New Years! And I’m still on winter break, so it feels like I should be lying around doing nothing all day. Well, when I’m not at work, that is. But I finally finished it, and I’ll try to blog a little more often from now on.
This book didn’t turn out the way I had expected. I’ve read one of Douglas Adams’s other books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as a part of the list previously, so, if anything, I imagined it would be something like that. The style of humor was similar, and this book did make me laugh a few times, but the story line of this one was less straightforward. Whereas in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy the plot got a jump start with the destruction of the earth, and the characters’ subsequent adventures made up the rest, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency starts out with many different story threads. These threads all weave together to make a cohesive picture eventually, but in some cases, it takes quite a while. For example, the opening image of a mysterious tower remains mysterious until the very end. This made for an interesting dynamic, but it also makes it very difficult to explain exactly what the story is about.
On one hand, there’s a man named Richard who’s visiting an old college professor. He works for a man named Gordon Way. Then you’ve got Susan Way, who’s Richard’s girlfriend. And a robot called an Electric Monk who rides around on a horse and is slightly malfunctioning. And a guy named Michael Wenton-Weakes, who’s just upset because he’s lost control of his magazine. And later on you finally meet the Dirk Gently of the title. And, well, it all comes together in the end. Honestly, I think that I liked the horse the best. Just an ordinary horse, but he sure had to put up with a lot of strange situations, and he just dealt with it all the way an ordinary horse does, by going wherever his rider wants and munching on grass when it happens to be nearby.
I enjoyed the scattered bits of humor and the Coleridge references. I don’t have much to say about the rest one way or another. I didn’t especially like or dislike it. I just feel kind of lukewarm about the whole thing. So I guess I’ll just give it 3 stars.