I was driving east with my daughter's family, Colorado to Pennsylvania, when I first heard Alexander McCall Smith's work, The Incredible Lightness of Scones, and no warning either. It was a while before I picked up on it, some nonsense about using moisturizer. Then I just relaxed into chuckling and laughter with the rest of the family; I was converted. As soon as I got on the Internet I ordered 44 Scotland St from Audible. And of course, it isn't nonsense at all, or just a funny story, more like an easy path to enlightenment. The play between Bertie, mother Irene and the psychiatrist is a gentle study of defective child rearing that should put us all on notice. Learn while laughing. Why not?
I must confess, I haven't experienced anything by McCall Smith yet - I know, I know - the detective agency books are supposed to be great, so my mom tells me. But, the idea of daily life in Edinburgh appealed to me more, so I started with this, not knowing what to expect. The narrator is just great - really stays in the Scottish accent and even gives each of the characters a bit of a twist. I loved that. The book itself might be considered slow to some - and so it is. Yet, as it slowly unfolds, one develops a deep investment the characters, which is why this book was so surprisingly addicting for me. When it ended, I just stopped everything I did and went to download the next installment! I can't wait to start the next! Just a really, really great book - what my mom would affectionately define as "brain candy." It's true!
I'm a retired book editor who likes to grumble about things.
There's a charm and shallowness to this book, with its many short segments and quirky characters, that make it a good diversion while doing such things as running, gardening, knitting, or whatever. I'd not call it great literature, but it is well written and has a certain silly sensibility that I found fairly delightful. The reader was outstanding, with a light Scots accent that gives a feel for the characters without being unintelligible.
The story is pleasant, because it's like listening to all of the small town gossip. It's all very interesting, the plot moves slowly but you hardly notice, because it's all such juicy tidbits. I like that it is written in short spurts of story, so that you can listen in short pieces at a time. The reason I ranked the performance low was simply that I really disliked the narrator's voicing of the children and the women. His voice, so beautiful for men, was cringe worthy for the softer toned characters. With that said, I will probably go back and get the next audiobook, because I have learned to tolerate( but not like) his annoying voice tones, and the storyline is so nicely set up for my daily 40 minute commutes.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Twenty years ago, my niece recommended a small-batch skincare line made in New Mexico. I've been using it ever since. So when she recommended Alexander McCall Smith's books, I could hardly say no. But could she be right again? Would I like this series as much as the moisturizer?
The answer is yes!
This first volume (and I have already finished the second because I now I cannot live without Smith) is so screamingly funny, I texted my niece with the lines that made me laugh, so she would know how much I love this writer. She endured a steady stream of messages from me all day long.
The core of quirky, lovable or "hatable" characters live in a Georgian structure divided into flats. The residents get to know each other, and we get to know them and their friends, child, and dog.
Readers can detect a lot of inside jokes that citizens of Scotland in general and Edinburgh in particular will understand. Surely they will be rolling around in their kilts and howling. Even though I wasn't privy to the jokes' meaning, just recognizing they are there was fun enough for me.
The novel isn't all laughs, of course. Smith shares many profound observations about life, our world, politics, and human behavior.
As for the narrator, he was perfect. He had a very dry delivery, his accents were on target, and he intensified my enjoyment.
And so on to Volume 3.
I'm not sure about this one. I read that it was funny, but I only found a few places where I chuckled. I guess I don't understand Scottish humor. It was an interesting story that seems to have no real ending for a few of the characters. For me, it was sort of like a sitcom without the chuckles. I guess it was just not my style.
Interesting book. Keep in mind the format is different.
It is a collection of shorts from a paper.
Narrator does the men's voices well but they should have got a women for the female roles.
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
equals a fun novel to listen to. I laughed so many times while listening, and had a smile on my face when I wasn't laughing!.
Alexander McCall Smith is a new author to me, as is Robt. Mackenzie as a narrator..what a match. Great Energy of this author and narrator. I can't wait to listen to the second book.
This is a case where the narrator increases the readers (listeners) experience of the book.
I couldn't decide on a genre..romance? Psychological novel?, Lost Love? there are so many fun characters that you grow to enjoy.
I love this series. The characters are fun and interesting. The plot twists enjoyable. I can almost imagine the author sitting in his writing room, giggling.
Interesting, humorous, pleasant.
Pat, ties in all the characters in the book.
Good book, easy to listen to. Looking forward to next book.