Listen to all of our 44 Scotland Street titles.
©2008 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
I have always enjoyed the McCall Smith characters and the various series, whatever their locations, Edinburgh or Botswana. I grab each one as soon as it is available for download and I am never disappointed in the economy of expression yet attention to nuance contained therein. McCall Smith has an excellent grasp of the various moral and situational ambiguities inherent in modern life and is proficient as well as entertaining in expressing them.
I thought this latest episode left a few compelling threads dangling, however, although perhaps that was intentional, leaving the reader wanting more. There was also a significant variation in my attention level, as the narrative went from yawn to laugh-out-loud hilarity.
There were a few passages that were not really critical to the story lines that could have been shorter, in my opinion, but at least this listen was around 11 or so hours instead of the usual 6, so there is access to a longer interlude with the inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street and their cohorts.
I read a review of one of the 44 Scotland Street series which was not at ALL complimentary, to say the least. I was saddened because the writer missed the whole point of these fabulous books and one of the best narrators I have ever heard: Robert Ian MacKenzie. Was he looking for blood? Perhaps, guts? These aren't those kind of books. Instead, McCall Smith gives us a glimpse into an absolutely incredible world of (gasp) ORDINARY people. And I have fallen in love with them. Totally. When one book ends, I feel as if all my friends went on vacation at the same time and I am left bereft and alone...well, maybe that might be overstating it a bit...but, honestly, Bertie, Big Lou, Olive, Domenica, Matthew, Miss Harmony and Tofu, etc... are so very wonderful.
No one was more surprised as I, that I could simply adore books which weren't jam-packed with the requisite blood and guts. You go, Alexander McCall Smith and Robert Ian Mac Kenzie! I'm hooked!
Mr. Smith is as good a writer as there is, however, why is this book titled The World According to Bertie? The character Bertie is just about the least mentioned character in the story. I was looking forward to getting a story FULL of information about my favorite Smith character, Bertie. What we get is a pitifully tiny installment on Bertie. I feel as though I've been hoodwinked, promised one thing and getting so much less. I'm very disappointed.
Alexander McCall Smith is a wonderful author. I love all of his series. The great narration makes these books a fun listen, too. I highly recommend all of his books.
Tell us about yourself!
The ongoing saga of Scotland street. Thoroughly enjoyed this title as much as the others in this series. Like a soap opera for your ears. Watching the characters evolve...the end of the book is always bittersweet because your left hanging until the next on comes out.
This is the fourth in the series and I think it was my favourite. I certainly enjoyed it more than number 3, Love Over Scotland, which seemed to drag a bit for me. I prefer if things are a tad farfetched, because I don't actually want to feel sad about Bertie's life or how awful it is if a dog is suffering somewhere and this one seemed to keep reality at just a slight distance. When that is the case, the comedy underneath can really shine. I'm all set to dive into the next one. The narrator was startlingly good, conveying each character, including the dog, perfectly and squeezing every bit of nuance out of the text.
Interesting title for this book as poor Bertie is finding out that HIS world is located in the "Twilight Zone." For the last five years now, Bertie wakes up every morning and he's still six years old, trapped in some Dantian ring of Hell. Luckily for them, everybody else at 44 Scotalnd Street seems to be moving on with their lives. Watch out Mr. Matheson; Alexander McCall Smith is challenging you as the new master of the horror genre.
How almost nothing happens to the inhabitants of 44 Scotland St, yet I can't stop listening to book after book. Most of the book takes place in the minds of the dozen or so characters. Each character is fully developed and unique from the rest. We hear their thoughts and their plots. Many of the characters are not noble, wise, or even remotely likable. But are real. We all know a vain Bruce or an unlucky in love Lou.
Every character is presented with subtle distinctions that tell you who they are and what mood they are in. The narrator doesn't attempt to make female voices higher pitched or shrill. He simply allows their personality to come through in his voice.
Always Bertie. He is always trying to find ways to escape his awful mother Irene.
I have really enjoyed the Scotland Street Series. While you aren't in for a rivelting thriller when you take a listen you do encounter humor, and charm. You also become inextricably attached the plight of the lovable and entirely human characters you meet along the way.
Yes, definitely. It is clever and fun and can be read in small segments. The author's philosophy and view of life are woven into the story with humor and grace.
The Number one Ladies' Detective Agency
He gives the characters life - I have read segments from the printed book to clarify small portions I missed while listening, and there is no comparison. I love the way the narrator does the characters and really miss this when I'm just reading the text.
Not really. Since the point of view shifts every few chapters it's easy to listen for short periods of time. It's fun to get back to the characters later and see what they are up to now. I have come to feel that I know these people.
I'm ready for the next book in the series.
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