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La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander…
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La's Orchestra Saves the World (edition 2009)

by Alexander McCall Smith (Author)

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8266416,423 (3.55)40
Member:Karin7
Title:La's Orchestra Saves the World
Authors:Alexander McCall Smith (Author)
Info:Knopf Canada (2009), 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

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» See also 40 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Christmas gift from Mom. It's always nice to have a new book to start on Christmas.

I always like this author and I enjoyed this book, although he should have given it a different title. The story didn't spend a lot of time on the orchestra and its impact; I kept waiting for that. It was interesting to read about English country life during WW II and the book kept me involved, but he didn't develop the characters quite as well as he has in other books.
I'd still recommend it, though--a solid 3 stars. ( )
  tkcs | Feb 23, 2019 |
The book begins in England just before the start of World War II. La (Lavender Stone) is in college when she meets Richard. After a short courtship, they marry but their married happiness is short-lived when Richard finds another woman in France. Before they divorce, Richard is fatally injured in an accident so he leaves La as a widow of means. She retreats to Suffolk during the War and finds she can help the war effort by working on a farm. Having a music background, La decides to start an orchestra and invites anyone to join who can and wants to play. The orchestra offers these participants therapeutic diversion. Of course, there is a little romance and intrigue involving La and an injured Polish soldier.

This novel was chosen as our February book club read. Otherwise, I probably honestly wouldn't have selected it. I found the book to be an easy read that offers a look at the place of women in England before, during and after World War II. It also addresses issues such as prejudice against foreigners in wartime, adjustments that are made to everyday living during war, the healing effect of music, and the differences between city life and country living when there is a war. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Alexander McCall Smith is an engaging story teller. This story is told in a sparse yet beautifully rendered fashion. It is a simple story of one woman making a difference in England during WWII. I have read several of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency books, which is what drew me to this novel. I enjoyed the book as much as the others I have read. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
A quaint book about a young widow's life during WW2. ( )
  kaylynvh | Mar 18, 2018 |
I didn't feel like it lived up to it's potential. I really enjoyed the first two thirds of it, which was stylistically very similar to the writing of some of the mid-twentieth century writers that I particularly like, with the odd unexpectedly modern note. Then I just stopped for several days, and had to struggle to finish it. I never felt a strong sense of attachment to La, and became more detached as the story progressed. Then, near the end, the perspective and the timeline got wonky. It was like the author got his story rolling along nicely, and then was interrupted and couldn't get back into the flow, so just threw together some bits and pieces. It's by no means a bad book, but it wasn't quite all that I wanted it to be. ( )
  SylviaC | Oct 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
". . . McCall Smith tells a deceptively quiet story about what might on the surface seem a life of disappointment. . . [yet] La, with or without her slightly out-of-tune orchestra, saves her circumscribed world with little fanfare, one human gesture at a time."
added by 4leschats | editBookPage, Robert (Dec 1, 2009)
 
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This book is for J.K. Mason.
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Two men, who were brothers, went to Suffolk.
Quotations
For her, life seemed unchanged, barely touched by the movements and shifts of the times. Again I have missed it, she thought; heady things are happening, and I am not there; I am somewhere in the wings, watching what is happening on the stage, in a play in which I have no real part. That is what my life has been.... I have been a handmaiden; she relished the word--a handmaiden; one who waits and watches; assists, perhaps, but only in a small way....
"We can't afford to be without God," Feliks continued.... If you take God out of it, then right and justice become small, human things. And weak things, too."

La thought about this. He was right, perhaps, even if she did not feel that she needed God in the same way Feliks seems to need him. She would do whatever she had to do--even if it was for the sake of simple decency. You did not wipe a child's tears because God told you to do so. You did it because the tears were there.
Surely she should feel indifferent towards him--there were so many displaced persons, people washed up by the war, people from somewhere else--and yet already she felt that looking after him was something that she had to do. But why? Because he was in need and he was about to cross her path. That, perhaps, was the basis of our responsibility to one another; the simple fact that we collided with one another.
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A stand-alone work by the author of the Isabel Dalhousie series finds divorcee Lavender fleeing World War II London and organizing an amateur orchestra that includes a talented Polish refugee who rekindles long-buried feelings.

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