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 LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
After listening to many of the selections in Alexander Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I wondered if he could possibly match that great series in this new one. I was delighted to listen to "44 Scotland Street," in which he again creates a memorable set of characters and a lovely, meandering and engaging story through which to let them reveal themselves. Brought alive by the wonderful narration of Robert Ian Mackenzie, Pat--who has rented a room with Bruce in Edinburgh, finds herself a job in an art gallery (feeling a bit embarrassed because she is on her 2nd "gap year."). Her neighbors are each fascinating (and often humorous), and the book tells their tales as it shifts back and forth between several stories.
Smith slowly moves the reader/listener through various incidents in the days of the people who live in this house, which were increasingly interesting. Everyone is trying as best they can to get their needs met. Pat somewhat falls in love with Bruce, without realizing that his confidence is not all it appears. Her employer is part of a group who meet regularly at "Big Lou's"--and the reader gradually realizes that she not only dispenses food and drink--but also philosophical advice. The neurotic Irene--whose son is struggling to be a normal little boy despite her smothering attempts, and others. The thing that makes this book a gem is the reliance on good character development, description, and the underlying foundation of solid philosophical concepts that peek through at times.
In the very beginning, I wasn't sure if anything was going to happen, wondering if it was going to be boring. Then I realized that its beauty is in the attention to detail that Smith gives it. And even though things "happen" it seems as though the point is more about who they are than what they do. I would like to also say that the narration gives this book a richness that makes it wonderful to listen to. This is different from his other series, but is equally compelling. I really enjoyed listening to it!
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.
I enjoyed Ladies Detective Agency, but this one provoked the question "Why was this written?"
Didn't care about any of the characters. I found them all dull.
He sounded like he had food in his mouth & was chewing!
It was a joyous relief to hear the words "The End"!
Someone from Scotland who doesn't require h/er novels to have an actual... you know... plot.
Because of the way it was written, it's very choppy. The characters are somewhat archetypical and fairly shallow. I think if there was less Scotland-specific detail and a bit more "finish" to this, I'd have enjoyed it. Frankly, what he should have done was take the series, removed the issue numbers, put them all together and edited to his heart's content. Then he might have had a novel worthy of his talents.
Pleasant; limited range.
Disappointment. Just not up to McCall Smith's standards (outside of Scotland.)
Not worth a credit. I'm returning it.