Perhaps best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith delights fans around the world with his warmhearted 44 Scotland Street novels. In the series’ sixth entry, the residents of 44 Scotland Street grapple with problems both trivial and severe, but none so great as when six-year-old Bertie Pollock - who longs to be seven - mislays his mum and learns a valuable lesson about wish fulfillment.
©2010 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2012 Recorded Books
Alexander McCall Smith is perhaps my favorite living author of fiction.
This latest book is one of his most moving and touching, I think. Mr. Smith's sense of humanity is so uplifting it leaves me a little weepy by the end of the book.
I highly recommend this book particularly for anyone who would like a little warmth and humanity, which is so hard to find in literature these days let alone the world.
The Scotland Street series just gets better with each new addition. The only very slight criticism I can come up with is that most issues get a little too easily addressed by the end; still, there is the unsolved--as yet--worry I carry about Bertie and his very odd mother, and the somewhat benign concern that Bruce will never truly reform, so the series never becomes tiresome. I am so spoiled by Alex. Smith's storytelling that--even though I have a fairly full library of as yet unread books--I keep coming back and checking to see if there's another Scotland Street sequel for me to try. I laughed out loud many times as I listened to this one, and could hardly wait for a new opportunity to keep going.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, novelist.
Yes, I actually have listened to parts of it again. I'm fascinated by the way in which McCall Smith effortlessly weaves philosophy into the story.
Since this is a series, it can be compared with any of the other books in the series. As in other series (take Ann B Ross's Miss Julia series, for instance) the characters are recurring, and half the fun is in finding out how they've progressed from the last book.
I have read some of the books, as opposed to listening to them. I find the audible versions tend to put me more convincingly in Edinburgh. Robert Ian Mackenzie can turn on a Scotch brogue in a way I can't. He's particularly effective as Angus Lordie.
Many laughs, many smiles. Maybe even a tear or two.
I love the way he sees the world through his characters' eyes, be it six-year-old Bertie, or Cyril the dog, or the twenty-something Matthew. These are well-delineated characters. Too many fictional characters are caricatures. McCall Smith's characters are wonderfully low key, each with his or her own limitations and self-perceptions, navigating a world filled with other human beings with their own foibles — people who are narcissistic, overbearing, dishonest, self-deluded, self-sacrificing, gullible, hopeful, sad, funny and sweet. They each come with the sort of mild eccentricities and self-doubt that you'll recognize in members of your own family. In other words, they're believable.
Hard to place it--I love all the 44 Scotland Street books (and many others)
I love his intonations which change depending upon the character. And, of course, his accent helps make the story more Scottish.
Just buy this book. Please. It is beyond wonderful, totally adorable in so many ways. I loved it.
Bertie, a small boy about to turn 7 years old, is lumbered with one very strange, over-bearing mother, and a well-meaning, but ineffectual father. He's a bright boy, who is forced into fulfilling his mother's ambitions, but who longs to be a regular boy. In this book, he finally finds true happiness for a short period of time. This book will bring joy to your heart.
This is a serial novel, and Bertie is only one of many interesting characters. Very highly recommended.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - This story takes place in Scotland, sometime near the present day. When I bought this book, I was expecting a heartwarming family-oriented story about a six-year-old child. There is that component to the story and it's very sweet (Bertie and his overbearing mother), but there's two other story lines of equal importance -- a story about some newlyweds and another about two women vying for the attention of one man. The stories are all basically about navigating through life's various ups and downs, and there's lots of character development. I almost returned this book after about an hour or so of listening to it because there wasn't enough going on to hold my interest, but I persevered. Soon I became involved with the characters and their various personal journeys.
PERFORMANCE - Good job.
OVERALL - Recommended for adults only. Even though there's no sex or profanity, children would find it boring. It's part of a series, but the story stands alone. This book is basically rambling around in the daily lives of richly developed characters. I prefer a little more "going on" in books so I won't be continuing with the series, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless.
I have read the first volume of this series and then skipped (for no particular reason) several of the following books picking up #6. It was easy to get reacquainted with the characters.
I think the charm of these books are mostly in how normal the people are that are being described. Reading the books, especially the 44 Scotland Street series always reminds me of good old water cooler gossip... and who doesn't like that.
As for this particular volume: I was hoping to see Bertie featured a little more, but am very happy how the character was developed.
Oh how I revel in the daily lives of the folk who live in the vicinity of Scotland Street! Poor benighted Bertie dealing with his horrific mother and demonstrating great insight into baby Ulysses' allergic reaction to her, insecure Matthew (How will he and Elspeth ever cope? Hopefully AMS will tell us in another episode soon), Cyril - the wonder dog, Angus, Domenica, and of course the indomitable Big Lou - how I enjoy them all. Full of gentle wit and cutting humor both, this book is a delight so cleverly written, as are all in this series.
The narrarator did a great job of giving voice to all the characters.
Oh my, the trip to Italy! You won't want to miss this.
I can't wait to listen to more. It makes drives go by so quickly.
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