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The Lost Art Of Gratitude (Isabel Dalhousie Novels) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Abridged edition edition (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781405503457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405503457
  • ASIN: 1405503459
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful 'No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award.

In addition to these series, Alexander writes stand-alone books. 2014 sees publication of three new novels which fall into this area: 'The Forever Girl'; 'Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party'; and 'Emma' - a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. This year there will also be a stunning book on Edinburgh, 'A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh'. Earlier stand alone novels include 'La's Orchestra Saves the World' and 'Trains and Lovers: A Hearts Journey'.

Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March of 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country.
Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.

Product Description


Praise for the Isabel Dalhousie Series: "[A] memorable cast of characters.... McCall Smith's assessments of fellow humans are piercing and profound... . [His] depictions of Edinburgh are vivid and seamless.... His fans ... are sure to embrace these moral peregrinations among the plaid." -- "San Francisco Chronicle""Scotland is a village ... just as exotic and compelling, in its way, as Botswana. When authors as clever as McCall Smith pursue such parallel tracks, readers are doubly well-served." -- "The Wall Street Journal" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

* The new Isabel Dalhousie novel

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 100 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Lost Art of Gratitude is the 6th novel in the "Sunday Philosophy Club" series by Alexander McCall Smith, which centre on philosopher and occasional amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie. The book picks up only 2-3 months after "The Comfort of Saturdays" - Isabel and Jamie's son Charlie now being 18 months old.

If you've read the other books in the series you'll know that they feature an assortment of storylines, most of which seem to take a backseat to Isabel's musings on everyday matters. This book is no different. Minty Auchterlonie asks Isabel to help her with a troublesome problem, Isabel's niece Cat has a new and unsuitable fiance, Brother Fox is injured and needs medical attention and Christopher Dove is scheming to force Isabel to resign as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics.

I truly love this series, but I was so disappointed by this book which felt like it was written "by numbers". One of the things that I like most is Isabel's musings on life and ethics. However this time round they felt forced: formulaic rather than intriguing. Also, McCall Smith seemed to have only limited interest in the plotlines. Cat's relationship felt like it was tucked in as an afterthought ("must involve Cat - oh let's give her another problematic boyfriend and we can just wrap it up by Isabel hearing about what happened"). The Minty storyline was given more prominence but then again it felt like he got bored with it in the end.

If you've loved this series as I do, you should still read the book - while disappointing, it's not completely dreadful. However I'd wait for the paperback. If you're new to the series, don't start here! Start with "The Sunday Philosophy Club". It's a series best read in order.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Bluebell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the sixth novel in The Sunday Philosophy Club Series that follows the life and work of Isabel Dalhousie. It was this series that first introduced me to McCall Smith's books and I'm now a fan of this and the 44 Scotland Street books. The Lost Art of Gratitude starts at the point that ended the previous novel with Isabel living with Jamie and their 18 month old son, Charlie. She still works at home as the editor of a philosophical journal and the story is full of her musings over moral issues and how they are tackled by philosophical analysis. I'm not a fan of philosophy as a discipline, but the author brings the subject to life and meaning for me by using real-life dilemmas experienced by Isabel in these novels. This more esoteric aspect of the novels is woven in a natural way into the day-to-day happenings in her life: a life full of love, happiness and kindness. McCall Smith writes with great charm, sensitivity and understanding of human feelings and has a gift for describing the feelings of women.

As with the other novels in this series the domestic idyll of a comfortable life in a nice area of Edinburgh are enlivened by Isabel being asked to solve a serious problem for someone else. The "problem" in this novel leads to some twists and turns as to who is the villain.

There's an added pleasure in these books if you're familiar with the streets, shops and social structure of Edinburgh that form the back-drop to the books.

Each book stands alone as a good read, but I think there is added enjoyment if you follow the chronological sequence and follow the lives of all the characters from book to book:
Book 1: The Sunday Philosophy Club
Book 2: Friends. Lovers, Chocolate
Book 3: The Right Attitude to ain
Book 4: The Careful Use of Compliments
Book 5: The Comfort of Saturdays
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Alun Williams VINE VOICE on 7 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed all the previous Sunday Philosophy Club books, and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, but have been a little disappointed by the latest episodes in both series. In this latest instalment of Isabel Dalhousie's life all the usual ingredients are present: Cat has a new unsuitable boy-friend; Isabel interferes (this time on behalf of someone we met in the first novel in the series - Minty Auchterlonie); Isabel defeats the latest machinations of Christopher Dove; and, as ever, Isabel's mind frequently wanders off into philosophical speculation at the oddest of moments. But there is nothing really new, and I'm beginning to feel that I'm reading books that are being written to fulfil a contractual obligation rather than because the writer has something to say. This is still a well-written book - and perhaps if this had been only the second or third in the series I'd have given it four stars, but I feel something is lacking: reading this I was struck that I had no idea what time of year it was supposed to be, and also by how unbelievably cosy Isabel's life is: I'm not after EastEnders (one of the things I like best about Alexander McCall Smith's books is how people do generally manage to sort out their problems with one another peacefully), but it wouldn't be beyond the bounds of possibility for Isabel to have to deal with the occasional disagreement with Jamie, or a tantrum from Charlie, or for Grace the house-keeper to need some time off work (or maybe some of Isabel's wealth could have disappeared in the credit crunch). Isabel would be a more interesting character if she wasn't so darn reasonable all the time.
One of the characters in this book is a tight-rope walker.
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