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The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (2008)

by Alexander McCall Smith

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8103111,256 (3.92)34

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The neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to life in this gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive novel, featuring remarkably precocious
6-year-old Bertie.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Nov 13, 2016 |
This is apparently part of a series about 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh - and, as I gradually realised, it might have been better to have read at least one of the others in the series beforehand. I simply could not keep track of all the people in this book, which felt at times more like a few episodes from a soap, rather than a novel. My favourite character was the delightfully precocious six-year-old Bertie who wants nothing more than to join Cub Scouts, while his mother wants him to join only gender-neutral groups and to play with the bossy Olive.

There’s a thread about a missing blue teacup, another about a valuable long-lost painting, another about someone who breaks up with his girlfriend and is offered a modelling job. And there are many conversations between people who, unfortunately, I found it hard to care about. Or even to distinguish. Perhaps the book was not meant to stand alone - or perhaps the intention is to be snapshots of several people’s lives as they intertwine and overlap. But since I could not grasp who was whom, or what relationship they had with each other, this point was rather lost.

Still, the writing for the most part is enjoyable enough, with some nice irony here and there, and interesting insights into people whose lives - albeit caricatured - are far removed from mine. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
I like this for the same reason I like McCall Smith's other Scottish stories. For anyone who's ever had—or known—a controlling, manipulating mother, Bertie's mummy is perfection. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
I like this for the same reason I like McCall Smith's other Scottish stories. For anyone who's ever had—or known—a controlling, manipulating mother, Bertie's mummy is perfection. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
This was a lovely listening. It was my first McCall Smith's story but won't be the last one. First it took me some time to get the clue, that different everyday events are told which seem to be related to each other or are taking place at the same locality. Furthermore I loved the idea that those events were told by characters from different ages. I loved all of them and the children's view, especially Bertie's one, is adorable. I had the feeling to sit amongst them as an observer and being a part of this community. ( )
  Ameise1 | Dec 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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This book is for Jan Rutherford and Lesley Winton.
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The wedding took place underneath the Castle, beneath that towering, formidable rock, in a quiet church that was reached from King's Stables Road.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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At 44 Scotland Street, six-year-old Bertie seeks escape in the Cub Scouts; Matthew rises to the challenge of married life; Domenica epitomizes the loneliness of the long-distance intellectual; and Cyril, the gold-toothed star of the whole show, succumbs to the kind of romantic temptation that no dog can resist and creates a small problem, or rather six of them, for his friend and owner Angus Lordie.… (more)

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