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The Lost Art of Gratitude
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The Lost Art of Gratitude [Audio Download]

by Alexander McCall Smith (Author), Hilary Neville (Narrator)
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 58 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Abridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Aug 2009
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQDLA0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher and amateur solver of other people's problems, meets an old foe, Minty Auchterlonie, at a birthday party attended by their young children. Ambitious Minty, now the head of a small investment bank, is in trouble with her shareholders. Isabel becomes involved, and is drawn into a murky world of financial concealment.

Minty is not the only high-flier in Isabel's life; her niece Cat has just become engaged to a tightrope-walking stuntman. Isabel fears his next job - and the engagement - could end in disaster. Meanwhile, her own boyfriend, Jamie, has marriage in mind too . . .

©2009 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2009 Hachette Digital

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming and thought-provoking 4 Sep 2009
By Bluebell TOP 100 REVIEWER
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I'm ungrateful... 7 Sep 2009
By Alun Williams VINE VOICE
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book
Thoroughly enjoy reading this series and all the other ones by Alexander McCall Smith, a very talented author. Now I just need to get the next one!
Published 1 day ago by Stacey
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming
I have read all the books so far in this charming, thoughtful series about Isabel Dalhousie. I enjoy the description of her thoughts on morality, and the means by which she then... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Linda Mapp
4.0 out of 5 stars I do like it.
4 out of 5 stars. I really like the Isabel Dalhousie series but it's not a 5 star series just yet.
Published 5 months ago by R. Mccarthy
4.0 out of 5 stars not quite sure about this one
The Isabel books are of course all about philosophy, but this time perhaps there is not quite enough plot to go with it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by BAM
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
wife loves this author and all his books and has yet to tell me of a duff read or boring story
Published 12 months ago by Mr. M. R. Rix
5.0 out of 5 stars McCall Smith - mind reader!
Wonderful insight into the inner mind of his characters.
He creates such a comfortable picture without any goo or sentimentality.
Published 13 months ago by SEW
4.0 out of 5 stars Being gratefull
Again I am grateful to Alexander McCall Smith for this Isabel Dalhousie novel. It is consistently reassuring to think about the gentle philosophy we are reading with these lovely... Read more
Published 14 months ago by J. Hildreth
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too little substance
I am a great fan of A McC S but I'm afraid I found this book rather hard going. A problem with McCall Smith's writing, in this series, is the incessant philosophical musing of... Read more
Published 23 months ago by P. R. Luck
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Delightful!
The Lost Art of Gratitude is the 6th novel in the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Art of Gratitude
This book arrived in record time and is helping me build my Alexander McCall Smith collection. Look forward to reading it.
Published on 17 Dec 2011 by Fran
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