Love Over Scotland Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Dec 1 2006
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|Audio Cassette, Audiobook, Dec 1 2006||
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From Publishers Weekly
The irresistible third entry to the 44 Scotland Street series picks up with the residents of 44 Scotland Street where Espresso Tales left off and is as addictive as any book McCall Smith has written. Anthropologist Domenica has flown off to the Straits of Malacca to study modern-day pirates. Back in Edinburgh, Pat moves from 44 Scotland Street and develops a crush on fellow art student Wolf, whose strange ways hint at a darker subplot that involves Pat's flatmate. Pat moves in with gallery owner Matthew, who struggles with both a sudden fortune and a yearning for Pat. Meanwhile, child prodigy saxophonist Bertie becomes a reluctant member of the Edinburgh Teenage Orchestra at age six and later, on a trip to Paris, finds himself wonderfully unsupervised. Poet/portrait painter Angus is tormented by the theft of his beloved dog Cyrus. The proceedings sparkle with McCall Smith's trademark wit (It was not always fun being a child, just as it had not always been fun being a medieval Scottish saint), proving once again, he's a true treasure. Illustrations by Iain McIntosh enliven the text. (Nov.)
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'It is McCall Smith's particular genius to be able to look on the brighter side of life, and he's seldom done so more enjoyably' THE SCOTSMAN 'A master storyteller . . . as warm and enjoyable as a very good soap opera' SUNDAY TIMESSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
If you haven't read the earlier books in the series (44 Scotland Street and Espresso Tales), I recommend you do so before beginning Love Over Scotland.
Academic pretensions are laid out for all to see in Domenica Macdonald's research into the family life of today's Asian pirates. Parental pretensions continue to be best displayed by Bertie's mother, Irene Pollock. Pretensions in love are characterized by Pat who leans towards a romance with fellow art student, Wolf. Angus Lordie's pretensions as a sophisticated man and devoted dog lover are also exposed. Psychotherapists' pretensions continue to be displayed by the muddle-headed Dr. Fairbairn. Writers' pretensions are explored with a new character, Antonia Collie.
The foils for these pretenders are very sympathetic: Bertie is at his independent best; Matthew's money doesn't go to his head as he continues to treasure Pat; and Big Lou shows that loving others isn't always rewarded in the right way. I'm sure you'll identify with them and cheer them on as they fight off the effects of the pretenders.
I liked this story the best of the three. Alexander McCall Smith seems to have let his humor run wild more than in the earlier books. As a result, each little segment is a romp worthy of consideration separately from the rest. I imagined I could hear him laughing as I finished several sections.
The introduction of more themes about love is also an improvement.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Chapters ran first as a serial in a newspaper in Scotland, about 1000 words a day ending, often as not, in little or larger cliffhangers. The characters continue from the first two volumes -- these are volumes, more than novels -- and they continue to engage each other or find themselves in improbable, quirky episodes. So the first thing is that if you didn't like serialized comics or cartoons, you will probably be happier not trying to get into this.
In addition, Alexander McCall Smith often includes a little mystery that culminates in a twist. Although the endings are sensible, not fantastical, these are not problems to be solved as a result of logical clues having been dropped along the way. If red herrings annoy you instead of amusing you, this is not a book you will enjoy.
There are a few causes taken up. One in particular, letting little boys be little boys instead of trying to churn out androgynous little prodigies, I happen strongly to agree with, but Smith does not make the point with a light or subtle touch. Those strongly disposed against this notion might take offense, which would certainly interfere with their enjoyment.
Why do I take so much trouble warning off those who will not like this book? Because I think that those who want something fun, imaginative, provocative (mostly in a gentle way), and redolent of place (Edinburgh and well beyond in this volume) will have a blast picking this up. If reviews of other titles in this series are an indication, plenty of readers will follow me criticizing the book as not sharing the strengths of other Smith books (okay, those books didn't run first in a daily newspaper) and as more of a daydream than a gritty tale of a modern city (in other words, although these are chronicles like Dickens', they are not epic).
This isn't Dickens and it isn't anything that would be recognized now as great literature. But did I say it was fun, imaginative, gently provocative, and infused with a sense of place and character? I guess I did. I loved it.
However, unlike Dickens, McCall Smith is a wonderfully enjoyable read, with none of the depressive quality of a Dickens novel.
Not only that but in this, the third volume, many delightful things take place that bring happy resolution to some of the many fascinating sub-plots that readers have been pondering over the past few years. So for afficianados like me - and, I suspect hundreds of thousands of you - this is an espcially enjoyable novel!
You can also visit Scotland Street! My wife and I recently did a McCall Smith tour of Edinburgh and had a wonderful time.
These really are as good as the Botswana novels - read them with equal pleasure and be sure to tell all your friends. It will be an ideal gift for Christmas - and for Thanksgiving, for that matter, too.
Christopher Catherwood (author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY [Carroll and Graf] and of MAKING WAR IN THE NAME OF GOD [Citadel])
I was introduced to this series by my 85-year-old mother, who is in a nursing home in Nebraska, and is still the world's best reader. She took great pleasure in reading "Espresso Tales" aloud to the only person for many miles who would fall out of her chair laughing at such arcane humor. Melanie Klein jokes, for heaven's sake! I admit it--the snob factor is a big one for me. I may not get the Edinburgh jokes, but I get the intellectual ones.
I adore this series--I even like it better than the other McCall Smith series (I don't particularly like Isabel Dalhousie). I adore this book. My favorite part is written from the POV of Cyril, Angus Lordie's dog. Or maybe it's the bemused discussion of May 1968. Or the moment when the fireworks go off for Matthew. Or what I suspect is a send-up of a classic (and creepy) Melanie Klein transcript. Or... I guess I'll just have to read it again.
Try reading this book aloud to someone simpatico. Or have someone with a great reading style (like my mother) read it to you. It's a lovely experience.
The most honest, and most poignant character, is 6-year old Bertie whose constant battles with mother Irene and father Stuart pinnacle when he goes to the police station and tells the police about his parents' business engagement with Lard O'Connor (the Tony Soprano of Scotland). It is all so simple, a carryover from the second novel. But, things in Edinburgh get darker.
Anthropologist Domenica actually goes out to see her Malaysian pirates, and discovers that they are scamming dolts who betray the pirate motto of lore. Even her pirate guide scams her by intruding and interfering with her work, until she bags him near the book's end.
Angus, the artist whose dog Cyril is everyone's friend, also is scammed by a Scot when his beloved mutt is dognapped while he is grocery shopping. Thankfully Cyril returns, but only after walking the streets of Edinburgh with a broken heart and an aching jaw, an injury derived from the dognapper's unsolicited swift kick.
But, Scotland Street's inhabitants - on the whole - are good people. "She has seen candour and honesty and utter transparency. But you had to be a child to be like that today, because all about us was the most pervasive cynicism that eroded everything with its superficiality and its sneers."
Pat, the college student, who encounters hard times with yet another roommate from hell, makes Matthew ask a most poignant question about bathroom etiquette when sharing a one-bathroom flat: "You can assume that if there's somebody in there, then the door will be locked." But, many do not lock doors. And intrusion occurs. So we must ask: "But then why does the person who opens the door feel bad about it?"
Pat remains mainly honest and without ethical fault. Her boss, Matthew, was equally pure, but an encounter with Lard for the benefit of friend Lou may have delivered him "to the dark side" - something that book 4 of this series will obviously focus upon.
Angus continues to mope while best friend Domenica engages in her months-upon-moths research, and tries to amuse her friend and flat watcher, Antonia, but all to no avail. Maybe book 4 will clear this up as well. And Pat seems to need to clear things up (or whatever) with Matthew in book 4 as well.
So goes McCall Smith, again leading the readers to anticipate more from the eccentric but lovable characters of 44 Scotland Street and their friends. After reading so many of his serial novels, I can only ask "How does he do it?" McCall Smith has proven great breadth in his serial writing. Scotland's J.K. Rowling and Alexander McCall Smith are unquestionably two of the premier serial writers of the past decade.