The Dirk Gently Omnibus

On the twitter, I promised some quotes from the book on the blog later on, and this post contains a few. Just like The Hitchhiker’s Guide…, the book is made up of more than one ‘book’; it’s actually two different books, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul. They don’t need to be read in any specific order though and the plots do not overlap (…much). The books are hilarious, even if I liked the first one better. If you haven’t read anything by Douglas Adams, read this one first.

Below I’ve quoted a few passages from the books:

1. “”Reg” had never actually taught Richard, he had only been his college tutor, which meant in short that he had had charge of his general welfare, told him when the exams were and not to take drugs, and so on. Indeed, it was not entirely clear if Reg had ever taught anybody at all and what, if anything, he would have taught them. His professorship was an obscure one, to say the least, and since he dispensed with his lecturing duties by the simple and time-honoured technique of presenting all his potential students with an exhaustive list of books that he knew for a fact had been out of print for thirty years, then flying into a tantrum if they failed to find them, no one had ever discovered the precise nature of his academic discipline. He had, of course, long ago taken the precaution of removing the only extant copies of the books on his reading list from the university and college libraries, as a result of which he had plenty of time to, well, to do whatever it was he did.” (DGHDA, p.12)

One word: Tenure.

2. “Dirk turned.
Framed in the doorway stood a tall dark figure.
The tall dark figure appeared to be not at all happy with what it saw, to be rather cross about it, in fact. To be more than cross. It appeared to be a tall dark figure who could very easily yank the heads off half a dozen chickens and still be cross at the end of it.
It stepped forward into the light and revealed itself to be Sergeant Gilks of the Cambridgeshire Constabulatory.
“Do you know,” said Sergeant Gilks of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary, blinking with suppressed emotion, “that when I arrive back here to discover one police officer guarding a sofa with a saw and another dismembering an innocent wastepaper basket I have to ask myself certain questions? And I have to ask them with the disquieting sense that I’m not going to like the answers when I find them.”
“I then find myself mounting the stairs with a horrible premonition, Svlad Cjelli [this is Dirk Gently’s ‘real name’], a very horrible premonition indeed. A premonition, I might add, that I now find horribly justified. I suppose you can’t shed any light on a horse discovered in a bathroom as well? That seemed to have an air of you about it.” (DGHDA, p.161)

3. “”You are a driver,” he said, “and I use the word in the loosest possible sense, i.e. meaning merely somebody who occupies the driving seat of what I will for the moment call – but I use the term strictly without prejudice – a car while it is proceeding along the road, of stupendous, I would even say verging on the superhuman, lack of skill. Do you catch my drift?”
“I mean you do not drive well. Do you know you’ve been all over the road for the last seventeen miles?”
“Seventeen miles!” exclaimed Kate. “Have you been following me?”
“Only up to a point,” said Dirk. “I’ve tried to stay on this side of the road.” […]
“May I ask you why you were following me?”
“You looked as if you knew where you were going. To begin with at least. For the first hundred yards or so.”
“What the hell’s it got to do with you where I was going?”
“Navigational technique of mine.” […] “There is a school of thought which says that you should consult a map on these occasions, but to such people I merely say, ‘Ha! What if you have no map to consult? What if you have a map but it’s of the Dordogne?’ My own strategy is to find a car, or the nearest equivalent, which looks as if it knows where it’s going and follow it.” (TLDTTotS, p.120-21)

Btw. while I was in Copenhagen this weekend, I met up with one of the regular and long-time readers of this blog and I ended up borrowed him my copy of Machiavelli. So the last post in that series will have to wait a bit.


May 26, 2010 - Posted by | Books

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