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44 Scotland Street (The 44 Scotland Street Series Book 1) by [Smith, Alexander Mccall]
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44 Scotland Street (The 44 Scotland Street Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews
Book 1 of 10 in The 44 Scotland Street Series (10 Book Series)
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As charming as the bohemian street in which it's set. (SCOTTISH DAILY RECORD)

It is hard to think of a contemporary writer more genuinely engaging...[his] novels are also extremely funny: I find it impossible to think about them without smiling (Craig Brown, MAIL ON SUNDAY)

A treasure of a writer whose books deserve immediate devouring (Marcel Berlins, GUARDIAN)

a hilarious yet sharply insightful tale of middle-class Edinburgh ... a joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles (SUNDAY EXPRESS)

Times, 20 August 2005

‘Addicts of McCall Smith’s Precious Ramotswe novels will recognise the gentle humour … of his latest work’

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 880 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (2 Oct. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,909 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When this book came into my hands, I have to admit I didn't think I was going to like it. Given that my only knowledge of the author had to do with a series of novels revolving around an African detective agency for women (or thereabouts)- I guess I was expecting a flight of fancy through Edinburgh, with no real meat to it.

I couln't have been more wrong. This book is a wittily observed journey through the lives and thoughts of five or six of the best realised characters I've come across in modern fiction.

The narcissistic Bruce, fantastically pretentious Irene and perpetually befuddled Matthew are among my favourites, but I think there's definitely someone for everyone in this book.

I can foresee a potential negative for some people coming to this book expecting a great saga. Because of the way in which it was written (Smith submitted a chapter a day to The Scotsman newspaper for 110 days), the story flits around and just as a particular line gets some legs, you find yourself focused on something totally different.

For those who like books with a long, developed plot line and deeply winding subplots, this book may feel like dealing with a hyperactive child. However, if you like dry, well realised humour with a good pace and excellent characters, then this will make a great read.

I'm certainly interested enough to hunt down the two sequels. Well done, Mr Smith, you've converted another fan.
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By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is wonderful, and everything you would expect from Alexander McCall Smith at his top form. The characters are engaging and intriguing, and the style of the book keeps you turning the pages. The format is slightly unusual - as this book was originally a daily column in a Scottish newspaper. It means each chapter is v.brief but very contained. The stories are centred round the residents of a house in Edingburgh, and offer slices of life from a variety of characters who lives overlap.
Incidently, he notes at the beginning that the idea for this book was born at a party hosted by Amy Tan, and in conversation with Armistad Maupin - for me that was recommendation enough!
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Format: Paperback
44 Scotland Street is little gem. It's a revival of the neglected genre of the serial novel, written - like Armistad Maupin's Tales of the City - to appear regularly in a newspaper. Yes, there are loose ends and some characters are little more than sketches, but given the virtual impossibility of producing a structurally polished novel when it is (as McCall Smith points out in his introduction) impossible to go back and make revisions, and the pressure is on to produce a daily episode for publication.
Insufferably pushy mothers, Conservative party stalwarts who would rather go ahead with just six participants than cancel a ball, narcissistic young men devoted to their hair gel ... the lighthearted sketchiness of these characters is what makes it permissable to laugh at them. The real heart of the book, however, lies in those characters who are wistfully chasing after what they cannot have - Big Lou, who has lived a life without love; Pat, with her misplaced infatuation; Matthew, who cannot seem to find his place in life; and poor 5-year-old Bertie (I wish I knew if he is ever to be free from having to speak Italian).
Read, enjoy, don't take it too seriously.
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Format: Paperback
This book is the story of the occupants of 44 Scotland Street, a traditional Edinburgh New Town (the posh Georgian bit) residence divided into multiple flats. The inhabitants are all very well-to-do, exactly as would be expected in this neighbourhood, and are based on character types that are instantly recognisable by anyone who knows middle-class Edinburgh. The characters are generally unburdened by the depressing reality of real life, spending their time in art galleries, fashionable bars and the floatarium, and this creates a wonderful feeling of escapism for the reader. While most of us ponder mundane questions like 'What am I going to have for tea tonight?' and 'What's on TV?', the inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street are constantly engaged in philosophical thoughts (very much in the style of Mma Ramotswe in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency).

The goings-on are extremely funny. I loved the strand featuring prodigious pre-schooler Bertie and his monstrously misguided mother, Irene, who puts Bertie into therapy after he defaces his nursery school with Italian graffiti. Also the plot concerning the Conservative Party ball, attended by just six people (all frightful), and involving the stealing of pants to go under a kilt and misappropriation of raffle prizes, was hilarious.

This book really reminded me of Tales of the City (without the sex) and when I had finished it I read the preface and discovered that Tales of the City had indeed inspired the original serial in the Scotsman newspaper. An easy, funny and highly entertaining read.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 July 2005
Format: Paperback
Alexander McCall Smith has helped recreate the daily serialized newspaper-published novel with 44 Scotland Street. In 110 tasty snippets, he introduces vast numbers of memorable characters, expands the action, provides 109 cliff hangers and deliciously complicates the plot. With a spare style and a twinkle in his eye, the author gives us plenty to chuckle about in unveiling the pretensions of the self-congratulatory urbanized upper crust.
Pat is taking a second year off from her college studies. The first year off didn't work quite as she had hoped. Pat is delighted to find a flat she can share with the handsome, if self-absorbed, Bruce, and two perpetually missing flat mates. She quickly finds a job working in an art gallery where the owner, Chris, knows even less about what he's doing than she does. On the same floor in her building is a delightful older woman, Domenica, who knows where all the bodies are buried. Through the walls, Pat can hear little Bertie practicing his saxophone for his mother, Irene . . . who's obsessed with having her son become a civilized genius. Bertie has other ideas.
The cast of characters is soon off on a mad-cap scramble through life whose continuing plot thread is a painting that just might be valuable . . . if only someone can figure out who painted it . . . and where it is. Along the way, lust rears its powerful chemistry and Pat learns to tell the good guys from the bad.
The story reminded me very much of the best of Maeve Binchy's novels about modern Dublin. 44 Scotland Street has the advantage over Ms. Binchy because Alexander McCall Smith is able to deftly develop his story so rapidly with sure visual pictures while bringing out the humor . . . rather than the painful melodrama . . . in everyday living.
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