Von Igelfeld is the world's leading scholar on Portuguese irregular verbs, having written a majestic, nearly 1,200 page book on the subject. As one review says, "There is nothing more to be said on this subject. Nothing." But in other matters, von Igelfeld is not nearly so skilled. Whether haplessly playing tennis against an equally dreadful opponent, or committing his friends to swordfighting duels without their knowledge, von Igelfeld is somewhat naive in the ways of the world. Yet that does not stop him from having a go at life, and the results are always humorous.
If you enjoy sharp yet subtle wit, you cannot afford to miss Portuguese Irregular Verbs.
©2003 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
"Portuguese Irregular Verbs" was refreshing and delightfully funny. The main characters--as some have noted--are not very "loveable" at the outset, but then, they're not supposed to be! They are stuffy German intellectuals, and Smith does a remarkable job of charicaturizing these friends without resorting to flat or ugly stereotypes. Long before I finished the book I'd discovered that they each had a good number of redeemable qualities. Additional nationalities' charicatures are provided, from the dramatically friendly and chaotic Irishman and the tragically serious Indian to the single-minded Italian. I laughed outloud every few paragraphs . . . the stodgy and absent-minded, socially inept academics filled me with a desire for a long visit with some of my European friends. The narration is fantastic--probably half the reason the delightfulness of the book came through so well for me. Though so different from the "Ladies Detective Agency" series, "Irregular Verbs" only serves to highlight the author's incredible insight to the admirable and entertaining in the ordinary human character. A wonderful treat.
Alexander McCall Smith's charming, warm, touching little human comedy is perfectly evoked by this narrator. His use of gentle accents and perfect inflection makes me believe it is better to be read to than to read it on my own. At least with this narrator!
I liked this very much. It is quiet, amusing (gently so), and fun. There is NO MYSTERY here...just a sweet story about an often bemused (in the good way), German professor. Sweet and pleasant.
Of Alexander McCall Smith's adult series this one took me the longest to appreciate. This author's ability to spotlight a variety of human behaviors is evident in all of his work, but of all of his wonderful characters Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld is the most outrageous. I admit it took me a while to really appreciate the humor in this series, and in one case, a topic I don't find the least bit funny, was made so ridiculous it crossed the line of unforgivable to hysterical without my even wanting it to.
I've yet to read any of McCall Smith's books without being surprised at the depth and originality of the characters. Not to mention such a great sense of humor that I can't help but laugh as I listen, producing strange looks from those around me at the time.
Brilliant! Very Funny! I and my teenage children were talking and laughing about the pompous and self-absorbed Herr Professor Doctor Doctor von Englefeldt and his friend and rival, Professor Unterholz long after the book had ended. Kept everyone absorbed for it's entirety on a long drive to Florida down I-95. I chuckle still, writing this.
This is a witty series and I enjoyed all the fun and insight of Alexander McCall Smith's observances of human nature and the erudite intrigues of the world of academia. I have to admit that I like the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency series better; however, I plan to read the next in the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series to see I can get as attached to the characters as I did in the "Ladies" series.
Another one of McCall-Smith's hilarious series on the German professor Moritz Maria von Igelfeld.
If the name doesn't make you laugh already, you
will do so shortly after.
The book described the adventures of the weird professor, mostly on his vacation in Italy. I think that it is a bit less funny than the "Sausage Dog" volume but still worth a read.
Don't forget the Kleenex to wipe your tears! :)
This bland little series of short novels is very anachronistic, but so is the protagonist, Herr Professor Von Igelfeld. More of a wry commentary on British manners than a realistic reflection of German academia, Von Igelfeld's extremely sudden immersions into the wildest of circumstances, and his absurd blunders out of them, are mildly diverting but hardly engaging. As a big fan of the "Kalahari Typing School" series, I know of the magic Mr Smith is capable, so I think his heart simply was never in the telling of these tales.
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