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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 24 September 2017

"44 Scotland Street" by Alexander McCall Smith

This book was written to be serialised daily in a newspaper and therefore containing very short chapters each of which has to be a mini story in itself. It spawned a series including Espresso Tales and The World According to Bertie.

Pat, on her second gap year (something dark seems to have happened during the first) shares a flat with beautiful but narcissistic Bruce; Pat can scarcely help herself but will she be seduced? She has a part-time job with art gallery owner Matthew: is the Peploe a Peploe, will it be stolen and what happens when it is accidentally offered as a raffle prize in a spectacularly rigged raffle at the world's smallest Conservative dinner dance by Bruce who has forgotten to wear underpants under his kilt and whose efforts to purloin a spare pair are almost more embarrassing than being exposed. Bertie's demanding mother Irene sends him to a psychotherapist for being naughty and portrait painter Angus explores a secret tunnel with Pat and anthropologist Domenica.


Brilliantly written and often incredibly funny. I hardly ever laugh out loud when reading. It's embarrassing. But I did on this book. Several times.

Some of my favourite moments

  • “‘Genetically programmed to have lots of boyfriends, I think.’ ‘A slut?  that's what Bruce called her to me.’ ... ‘Male double standards,’  said Dominica sharply.” (p 10)
  • something of the late afternoon perhaps, even if not quite something of the night.” (p 53)
  • They used the metaphors of electricity. I am a bit below my normal wattage. I feel like shorting out.” (p 72)
  • Irene ...  was deeply committed to egalitarianism in all its forms, but this did not prevent the paying of adequate attention to gifted children. Society needed special people if egalitarian goals were to be met. Unexceptional people ... were often distressingly non-egalitarian in their views.” (p 89)
  • We all have Proustian moments, but we don't really know about it until we read Proust.” (p 215)
  • I think our cars been lost,  said Bertie. Daddy parked it somewhere when he was drunk and forgot where he put it.” (p 223)
  • Sexual attraction....  the dark, anarchic force. More powerful than anything else. Working away, but not for me.” (p 240)
  • it is the onion memory that makes me cry.” (p 249)
  • a fiddler worked his bow through a tune.” (p 254)
  • Falling out of love is every bit as painful as falling out of a tree -  and the pain lasts far longer.” (pp 297 - 298)
  • Is an ability to play the saxophone a social accomplishment or is it an anti-social accomplishment?” (pp 304 - 305)

September 2017; 326 pages

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