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Chance Developments: Stories by Alexander…

Chance Developments: Stories

by Alexander McCall Smith

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Five lovely stories imagined from five old black & white photos.AMS is a master of story telling.i particularly enjoyed the one about the Irish schoolteacher who ‘snares’ the rich man’s daughter with a devilish trick. ( )
  jimrbrown | Aug 19, 2018 |
Love stories based on random old photos not
selected by the author. Not his best. ( )
  triscuit | Apr 25, 2018 |
Five short stores involving romantic love. In his introductory “author's note,” the author explains that he asked his editor ”if he might find me a selection of black-and-white photographs of people from the past so that I could imagine the stories behind the images.” I found the character in the first story so unappealing that I thought the book would be a bust, but the rest of them were better. The story based on the cover photo, “Dear Ventriloquist,” was my favorite but they all, even the first story, have some interest and charm. ( )
  meandmybooks | Feb 11, 2018 |
"Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories" is a collection of five short stories by Alexander McCall Smith. Each of them has the same starting point: an old black and white photograph showing one or more people in more or less ordinary settings such as a train station, a country lane, etc. It’s a nice conceit and Mr. Smith pulls it off with his usual gentle storytelling style. The copy that I found features a photograph used for a story set in Canada as the book’s cover, with a foreword to Canadian readers written by Mr. Smith; I’m assuming that the cover for copies published in the other countries featured showcase those photographs and that a note for those particular readers has also been included, which is kind of sweet when you think about it. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Sep 26, 2017 |
Leave it to Alexander McCall-Smith to take random vintage photos and weave stories around them. This slim volume is deceiving because within its compact-sized body lies a world of wonder and a world of love. Told in his own enchanting style, these five short stories will leave the reader feeling good about life. My favorite of the five is Sister Flora’s First Day of Freedom where a woman leaves the convent and reenters the secular world. Having spent a good deal of her adult life in seclusion, she sets out to speedily make up for lost time. In Dear Ventriloquist we are treated to a look at carnival life and revel in the private lives and loves of those whose life centers around the big top and midway.

Sister Flora’s First Day of Freedom: a nun in Scotland, the recipient of a legacy, leaves the convent, her home of ten years, with a specific goal in mind.
Angels in Italy: an artist who regrets his behaviour as a young man learns something surprising when reunited with a friend from his youth.
Dear Ventriloquist: a young circus performer’s fortune-telling proves to be unexpectedly accurate.
The Woman with the Beautiful Car: a young man acts in an uncharacteristic way to gain the attention of a lady.
He Wanted to Believe in Tenderness: an old man counts his blessings despite a less-than-ideal life.

Each story is captivating in its own way. Every reader will find something to like within these short stories. McCall-Smith’s charming way with words will mesmerize you. If you haven’t yet read any of McCall-Smith’s series or if you aren’t sure you’ll enjoy his writing style, then this is the perfect book for you. The physical book is nicely sized to tuck into a purse or briefcase (yes, gentlemen, you too will enjoy these stories). I certainly hope the author plans on doing more of these photo stories. ( )
  AuthorMarion | Feb 6, 2017 |
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"While gathering material for a photography book about Edinburgh, Alexander McCall Smith found himself inspired to create stories about the people captured in a number of particularly striking photos. A smiling girl leading a younger girl astride a pony, and a boy in a kilt on a tricycle beside them, gives rise to a story of a lifelong romance between the two riders. A dapper, roguish-looking man perching on a lady's knee sparks the story of a ventriloquist and an animal handler who work in a circus, and who, under the most delightfully unexpected circumstances, fall in love. The image of a woman haloed by light in a train station becomes the lighthearted tale of a nun's decision to leave the sisterhood and discover what the big city has to offer. Charming and poignant, this collection is brimming with the flourishes of grace and humor that could only come from the pen of Alexander McCall Smith"--… (more)

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