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44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street

by Alexander McCall Smith

Other authors: Iain McIntosh (Illustrator)

Series: 44 Scotland Street (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8121013,018 (3.53)197
  1. 20
    Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (cransell, Jannes)
    Jannes: Tales of the City was the main inspiration for McCall Smith when he decided to write Scotland Street. The two books have a lot in common, including the episodic format, the light-hearted tone, and the premise of a house and it's tenants.
  2. 00
    Notwithstanding by Louis De Bernières (jayne_charles)
  3. 01
    The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These character-driven novels use vignettes and ensemble casts to explore multiple plots and the relationships between characters. 44 Scotland Street is both comical and upbeat, while The Imperfectionists is more nuanced, complex, and thoughtful.… (more)

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» See also 197 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
entirely un-philosophical...yet completely charming, funny, and more than a little satirical. The short, yet complete, chapters make the book well-paced, making this the perfect book for a rainy Saturday or ride on the train. ( )
  inescapableabby | Nov 28, 2018 |
I was reading a paperback edition and then starting with chapter 40, page 103 of 325, I started simultaneously listening to the audio CDs as I read the book. I do enjoy reading that way with some books. The audio narrator was okay, good but not great.

There are very short chapters, and at first I could tell this was written in serial form and I didn’t like it that much, but I got used to it, and even started appreciating the jumping around between characters.

The story was fun and witty and creative, and I loved the twists and I appreciated that the “mystery” was not a huge part of the book/stories.

The reader meets so many characters and I had some trepidation about keeping track of them, but they and their stories were interesting and it was easy to keep track of them.

There is so much humor with many amusing chuckle out loud, or at least smiling, moments. I consider this more of a humorous novel than mystery novel.

I am getting tired of book series though, even though I’ve read so many that I’ve liked, and would now usually read standalone books, books whose stories are complete and whose characters have had all that will be written about them in one book. There are already so many books in this series. I might read another/more because there are some characters I’d love to follow: Bertie, Cyril, Pat, etc. etc. etc.

I feel the same way about his Ladies’ Detective Agency series. I’ve read the first two and I might also read more of them. The series are so different. I like both, but unlike for Goodreads’ friend Laura, neither are comfort reads for me. In fact, for years I’ve watned to visit Edinburgh and if influenced in any way by this book I’m now less interested in visiting. ( )
  Lisa2013 | Nov 25, 2018 |
Although I read this one out of order, it was very good and a nice start to the series. ( )
  lhaines56 | Jun 8, 2018 |
I've read some of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series by McCall Smith and enjoyed them. A friend loaned me this and the other books in a series thinking I might enjoy this series. She is right!

Originally published as a serial in the "The Scotsman," a local newspaper in McCall Smith's town. The chapters are short but like short stories, yet they are linked into each other.

44 Scotland Street is a building of flats in Edinburgh, Scotland. The characters are the residents of the building, each with their own stories.

Bruce has been there a while; a good looking guy who prides himself on it and works for an appraiser's office.

Domenica is an older woman, eccentric and wise.

Bertie, a five year old who is learning to speak Italian and play the saxophone under the desire of his mother, and his father who seems to just drift in and out.

Pat, a young twenty-something who has taken a job at a gallery and moved into the building as a flat mate to Bruce, is the central figure. She is attracted to one man but also finding herself curious about another. She could possibly have either but which one is the right one?

Matthew, a young man who has never really been successful at anything, has the gallery through the assistance of his father, in hopes he may succeed at something.

Their stories intertwine, giving a look into the life of Edinburgh. A bit more complicated that it could seem, yet with a certain amount of simplicity. The trick is to determine which is what when.

I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I think I like it even better than "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency"! ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Dec 27, 2017 |
The narrative of this book covers the lives of various characters inhabiting the titular property and those with whom they come in contact. In the building live Pat, a young woman on her second gap year; her landlord flatmate Bruce, a narcissistic chancer; Irene, a pushy mother, with Bertie, her saxophone playing, Italian speaking five year-old who just wants to be a normal boy; and Domenica, an older woman more wise to the world. Pat takes up a job at an art gallery run by an incompetent set up by his father. Along the way we meet Bruce’s boss, a mainstay of the local Conservative Association, his wife and daughter; Big Lou, who runs a pub in the same street as the gallery; and Dr Fairbairn, Bertie’s psychiatrist - not to mention author Ian Rankin. There are occasional illustrations (by Iain McIntosh) at least one of which gave away an incident yet to occur on the page.

The problem with all this is its genesis as a periodic publication, appearing daily in The Scotsman. As a result none of the scenes is ever fully developed, they are sketched not drawn, and there is too much telling in place of showing. The characters are insufficiently fleshed out, types, not individuals.

What plot there is centres round the authenticity or otherwise, the disappearance and recovery, of a painting which might be a Peploe; but this is exiguous at best.

McCall Smith perhaps betrays his leanings when he puts these words about The Guardian into the mouth of five year-old Bertie, “Because it’s always telling you what you should think.” Then again it might just have been so he could add the rider, “Just like Mummy.” And don't all newspapers in effect "tell their readers what to think"?

McCall Smith’s writing is easy on the eye but undemanding on the brain as the whole enterprise is very lightweight, admittedly suitable for quick, and perhaps not necessarily attentive reading. Quite why it appears on a list of 20 Scottish Books everyone should read is beyond me, though. That it is The Scotsman’s list is a bit too much like that newspaper blowing its own trumpet. ( )
  jackdeighton | Aug 18, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexander McCall Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
McIntosh, IainIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This is for Lucinda Mackay
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Pat stood before the door at the bottom of the stairs, reading the names underneath the buttons.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
After her first gap year ends in disaster, Pat decides to start afresh. She finds employment at a local art gallery, and moves into a flat at 44 Scotland Street – an intriguing building full of intriguing people. There's Domenica Macdonald, the slightly eccentric anthropologist across the hall. There's Irene Pollock, whose five-year-old son Bertie is a victim of her fascination with psychoanalysis. Then there's Bruce, Pat's roommate – an intolerable, self-absorbed, arrogant narcissist who Pat most certainly does not have feelings for. Well . . . not really.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0349118973, Paperback)

1st in a new series by the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This series is set in an apartment building in Edinburgh, Scotland and has its share of eccentrics and failures. Dry, funny, hugely entertaining stories based in the author's hometown.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Pat rents a room from the handsome and cocky Bruce, at 44 Scotland Street, and discovers that she has also acquired some colorful new neighbors, including Domenica, an eccentric widow.

» see all 11 descriptions

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