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Portuguese Irregular Verbs [Paperback]

Alexander McCall Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Aug 2003
Is there anything funny about German professors? This novel features the endless mishaps of the inimitable Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld.

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Portuguese Irregular Verbs + Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited; Reprint edition (7 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954407563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954407568
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,096 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


For The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: 'A rare pleasure' Daily Telegraph 'Forget the library - the body is in the mud hut. An African Miss Marple created by a Scottish lawyer ... superb' Sunday Times 'One of the most entrancing literary treats of many a year' Wall Street Journal 'A strong, independent, and endearing model for contemporary women anywhere ... A crowded fictional genre will have to make room for Precious Ramotswe. In the best sense possible, she's a heavyweight' Boston Globe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Is there anything funny about German professors? This CD features the endless mishaps of the inimitable Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld - the first title in a new trilogy from the bestselling author of 'The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satires of German Academics 4 May 2006
If you've ever been to Germany and been introduced to someone whose title was Professor Doctor Doctor Doctor and you were required not to smile as you listened to the introduction, this is your book. Academics in general take themselves too seriously, and Alexander McCall Smith draws on his years of experience in academia to lampoon the worst excesses.

The humor is rather broad and obvious, but it does hit the mark. Those who aren't exposed to academics may wonder what all of the fuss is about.

These are a series of eight stories about Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld (think hedgehog field) and his colleagues.

With enormous self-confidence, the three professors decide to learn tennis by reading a book in the Principles of Tennis.

Von Igelfeld launches his fellow student and future colleague into a dangerous form of sport with humorous and unexpected consequences in Duels, and How to Fight Them.

Early Irish Pornography shows the potential absurdity of studying just any old language if you are a philologist

Italian Matters explores the bases of national prejudices

Portuguese Irregular Verbs explores the immense over-investment that all authors have in their work

Holy Man explores how the rational man meets the mystic and what he makes of the experience

Dental Pain looks into professorial romantic ideas

Death in Venice tickles one's fancy with references to Thomas Mann.

If you like the Botswana stories, these stories will probably not appeal as much. There's bile and vague pity beneath the humor here rather than love for the characters.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars Are Not Enough 14 Nov 2003
This exquisite little book is the first of what one hopes will be many accounts of the doings (adventures is perhaps too exciting a word) of Herr Doctor Professor von Igelfeld.
McCall Smith pokes very gentle but pointed fun at, inter alia, academics, librarians, landladies and a certain sort of unselfconscious pomposity that protects the perpetrator from even noticing the damage he is wreaking. Think George Grossmith, P G Wodehouse, Inspector Clouseau or even Mr Bean!
If you have read "Death in Venice" the final story, in which the Professor, visiting Venice, finds himself attempting to avoid the attentions of a Polish teenager, is just too delicious for words!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Portuguese Irrigated Herbs 7 Nov 2005
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Well... I bought this having read the 1st Ladies series expecting a similar humour, but it's completely different.
Hugh Laurie reads this book exquisitely and I derived equally as much pleasure from his reading of the tale as the tale itself.
Our three professors, led by the author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs, get themselves into various embarassing scrapes. The characters reminded me distinctly of Fraser and Niles Crane, as von Igelfeld, Unterholzer and Prinzel interact on a similar level.
I've listened to this book several times now as I find it relaxing listening, dipping in at various points. The highlights for me are our heroes learning to play tennis from a book and the whole Venice sequence at the end which had me snorting loudly causing my husband to check I was ok...
The audio CD is excellent - give it a go
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The strange world of supercilious scholars 6 Jan 2007
Format:Audio CD
Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld is a well educated and important man from a good family. He's a doctor of philology and has written the scholarly tome "Portuguese Irregular Verbs". It's obvious (to him at least) that he comes from a splendid German lineage because of the "von" part of his name. His friends look up to him and, to varying degrees, he looks down on them. When he discovers that one of these gentlemen has employed a "von" on his apartment name-plate that von Igelfeld feels sure he's not entitled to - as well as a title including "Doctor Doctor", ie claiming more qualifications than he's earned, there's a sense of self-righteous outrage - and some spiteful and hurtful comments are fired at the poor, insecure man. He soon relents though, when he finds evidence that his friend secretly holds him and his precious book in high esteem. He doesn't sound like a very nice man: self-important, mean-spirited, competitive - not very likeable at all. Perhaps it was Hugh Laurie's reading that made him seem sad and vulnerable as well as ridiculous and arrogant, so that I listened to the audiobook for four hours, mostly smiling, sometimes laughing, occasionally cringing but, at the end, feeling considerable sympathy for the haughty von Igelfeld and his chums. I'll certainly be happy to listen to the next two in the series: "The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs" and "At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances". I think Hugh Laurie's reading of this audiobook added hugely to my enjoyment. He does pomposity, disdain and indignation so much better than I could possibly image them from just reading the book myself.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slim Pickings 1 July 2004
I have read - and really enjoyed - the "No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series, so I thought that I would branch out and see what McCall Smith's other novels were like.
I found this to be mildly amusing so long as you have some appreciation of academic jealousies and intrigues, but I thought that the whole area is covered much more amusingly and entertainly - as well as being better written - by David Lodge.
I was a bit dissappointed in the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
He is such a great observer of people so enjoy his books.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD READ - VERY FUNNY
A good trilogy which are very well read and also very funny. Just Alexander McCall Smith at his very best.
Published on 2 Jan 2012 by Brian Nicol
4.0 out of 5 stars Portuguese Irregular Verbs
I never cease to be amazed by McCall Smith's imaginative characterisations or the sensitive humour with which he writes. Read more
Published on 13 April 2011 by Slow Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Reader
Very amusing light reading. Also intrigues others who spot the title which, come to think of it, is the reason I bought it in the first place.
Published on 5 April 2011 by P. F. May
4.0 out of 5 stars Sublimely silly and exceptionally entertaining
The adventures of the self-important Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of the acclaimed, at least in his mind, "Portuguese Irregular Verbs", are a sheer delight to... Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2010 by I. Holder
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly different and very funny
...what more can I say?

Meet Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria - just one of the eccentric professors at the Institute of Romance Philology at Regensburg, and author of the... Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2008 by S. Barnes
The wonderfully pompous Dr Igefeld and his equally pompous colleagues deserve a place on the shelf of any afficiando of fine comic writing and wry observation - a small classic... Read more
Published on 3 Dec 2007 by M. Drake
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangely memorable incidents...
....although not that enjoyable. After greatly enjoying The "Ladies' Detective Agency" books, this came as a bit of a let-down. Very different. Read more
Published on 4 July 2005 by Big Ben
3.0 out of 5 stars Curiously memorable....
....although not that enjoyable a read, in my view. After greatly enjoying The "Ladies' Detective Agency" books, this came as a bit of a let-down for me. Very different. Read more
Published on 4 July 2005 by Big Ben
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