So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams — Revisit Review

Cover: bookshop.org

Previous in the series: Life, the Universe and Everything.

I was hopeful, but not entirely certain, that So Long and Thanks for All the Fish would improve upon Life, the Universe and Everything. What I wasn’t expecting was for it to be my favourite Douglas Adams book since The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My memories of listening to the audiobook of So Long and Thanks for All the Fish weren’t particularly strong, and yet, I loved it. It’s hard to pin down exactly why: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish isn’t particularly episodic, and Arthur and Ford are separated for almost the entire novel, so the two things I thought were my problems with books two and three clearly aren’t.

Her voice was the only part of her which didn’t say “Good.”

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Douglas Adams

It’s nice to see Arthur back on Earth, which makes me wonder if perhaps I just don’t enjoy science fiction that much. The introduction of Fenchurch as a character also works extremely well and gives Arthur someone new and delightful to bounce off of. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish is the happiest book in the series so far, which makes a refreshing change, especially from the story of the Krikkit wars.

Dwindling headily beneath them, the beaded string of lights of London — London, Arthur had to keep reminding himself, not the strangely coloured fields of Krikkit on the remote fringes of the galaxy, limited freckles of which faintly spanned the opening sky above them, but London — swayed, swaying and turning, turned.

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, Douglas Adams

As well as being witty in Douglas Adams usual way, the prose is also descriptive and beautiful in places. I particularly enjoyed the passages relating to Arthur’s fish bowl (pictured on the cover above) and Fenchurch’s home. I would love to see an illustration of her nine-foot-high doorstep, but I wasn’t able to track one down online.

Despite being very different from the other books in the series, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish feels like a return to form, reminding me of why I like Douglas Adams’ books in the first place.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Next in the series: Mostly Harmless.

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