Thursday, 23 August 2012

Alexander McCall Smith - a witty author.

Alexander McCall Smith is a witty author.

I use the word “witty” in its older sense – thus describing this author as one who has his wits about him.

Some people got to know him via his series about the Botswanan private detective Precious Ramotswe - m(first book entitled “The NO. 1 Ladies Detective Agency”).

I missed that series.  But when, a couple of years ago, I heard this author when he was interviewed on a National Public Radio programme I became interested in him and his books.

That interview was about his book “La’s Orchestra Saves the World” which was published in 2009.

 I liked the sound of Mr. McCall Smith’s voice, and I liked the way in which he responded to the interviewer.  So I bought the book.

I enjoyed it so much.  It’s a charming tale about “La Stone”. "She is a widow who, as the Nazi threat looms, assembles a ragtag orchestra in rural Suffolk in hopes of altering  the temper of the world”. (Reviewer's Comment.

My reading of that book led me to seek out more of Mr. McCall Smith’s works.

Next, I had the greatest fun as I read his trilogy about the hapless philologist Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Inelfeld  (see “Portuguese Irregular Verbs”. “The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs”, and “At The Villa Of Reduced Circumstances”)

There’s a nice bit of “black humour” in this trilogy, alongside an amusing take on the pretentions of human nature.

This week I have been reading Alexander McCall Smith’s “44 Scotland Street”.  He wrote this as a serial for the Edinburgh newspaper “The Scotsman’ – a la Charles Dickens and Armistead Maupin.

“44 Scotland Street” (2005) has no deep or engaging plot.  But it has (just like the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series) a funny, deep, wry, ironic and witty take on human behaviour.

It is a book which made me grin and nod my head as I thought “Alexander McCall Smith is an astute observer and reporter of our common foibles”.

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