The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth (Isabel Dalhousie Novels) Hardcover – 1 Sep 2011
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"Every bit as charming as his No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency." --Margaret Cannon, "The Globe and Mail" "Alexander McCall Smith novels never fail to delight...The Forgotten Affairs of Youth [is] no exception, with its gentle humour and philosophical musings." --"The Guardian""Life is full of mystery, and for Alexander McCall Smith even everyday enigmas can provide a compelling challenge for the engaged observer. That same principle holds true in the Isabel Dalhousie series.... Along the way, readers get to soak up the cozy atmosphere of this Scottish university town and McCall Smith's gentle good will.... Soothing." --"The Boston Globe" "You needn't be a series-long admirer of Isabel Dalhousie to be beguiled by this curious philosopher and casual sleuth." --"Publishers Weekly" "There is plenty of quiet humour and gentle satire in this engaging novel.... Refreshingly upbeat." --"Otago Daily Times" (New Zealand)"In its own way, McCall Smith's world is as stylized and hermetic as those created by P.G. Wodehouse or Damon Runyon--a sweet and timeless bubble with its own morality, language and customs. Entering it can be a source of great comfort in these uncertain times." --"The Seattle Times" "To say McCall Smith is a literary phenomenon doesn't quite describe what has happened. He has become more of a movement, a worldwide club for the dissemination of gentle wisdom and good cheer. . . . They make a splash of colour in a drab world and provide a genial buffer against the disappointments of life." --"The Telegraph" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
But it is legitimate to raise the question of whether this ultra-sensitive approach to living makes for a good story. I would argue that it does. I think what saves Isabel's character from being tiresome in this running pursuit of "the golden rule" is that she constantly comes away from her often minute assessments with a clear and profound gratitude for the good things that have come her way and, infrequently the understanding and acknowledgement that no one can control every aspect of life.
To be sure, McCall-Smith has mounted a few small challenges for Isabel in "The Forgotten...". The most gritty of them is posed by a semi-poisonous mushroom that ultimately leads to a rift with her niece after first giving Isabel a look into the abyss. Sleuth Isabel also jumps into a missing parent question brought to her by an Australian academic who was given up for adoption as an infant. The affair has a bittersweet but satisfactory resolution that provides its own lesson for living.
"The Forgotten Affairs of Youth" moves at a sedate pace and offers few moments of frisson or conflict, but admirers of the series and of the author's insights and purpose will enjoy this episode as part of the larger saga of Isabel and modern Edinburgh (in my opinion).
I wonder if the author is writing too many series simultaneously and is losing steam by this eighth book in the series.
I think the cover illustration is the best in the series: it's splendid.
Writing this, I realise that you could lobby the same accusations of repetitive formulas at the No. 1 Ladies Detective series, but somehow those books seem to hold their charm. I wonder if part of the problem is that none of the secondary characters in this series are terribly interesting or ever seem to evolve in any way. I particularly find Isabel's relationship with dreary Jamie to be devoid of any spark (although I was relieved that at least she appears to have given up fretting about whether she is worthy of him).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As always A M S never fails to interest and surprise. A lovely read.Published 11 months ago by anne-marie
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favourite authors. These series of books are charming and gentle. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Magmac