Thursday, April 26, 2007

Book Review: “44 Scotland Street” by Alexander McCall Smith

Pat moves into an apartment at the address in the book’s title and gets a job at a small art gallery. This is a character-development story of the people in her building, her job, and other folks connected to them. The setting is Edinburgh and the story plods along like a typical British novel (can you say, “Pride & Prejudice?”). The characters each have an interesting personality trait or two, and more connections develop between them along the way, leading to several different story lines. You’ve got an underachiever, a narcissist, a portrait painter, an archeologist, a controlling mother, and a genius youngster, among others. The book ends without much being resolved in any of the story lines.

My Thoughts
Interesting fact: this was originally a 110-episode serial in a Scottish newspaper. At first I wasn’t sure I would stick with this book because it was so slow, but I don’t like giving up on books unless they are terrible, which this wasn’t. There are some humorous scenes that help redeem the story. However, I was hoping for more at the end and I was a bit disappointed. McCall Smith is also the author of the excellent No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which is much better in my opinion. (The art connection between these two reviews is just a coincidence – I’m not on an art bender.)

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