Sunday, November 20, 2005

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith

This was a slow, quiet, thoughtful kind of novel. I didn't find myself absorbed by it, and didn't feel the need to zip through it (particularly since the latest issue of the Official Xbox Magazine arrived just after I started the book...). I am actually not all that sure what I thought of the book, now that I've read it. The main character, Isabel Dalhousie, is a philosopher, editor of an ethics journal, and spends an awful lot of time thinking philosophically to herself through this book. She is asked by an acquaintance to help her sort out the meaning of a strange vision he has had since a recent heart transplant. Meanwhile, Isabel herself is trying to sort out her feelings for a young man who is an ex-lover of her niece. Keeping in mind that our protagonist is in her early forties, presumably with plenty of life ahead of her, I found it rather irritating the way she seemed to think of herself as some kind of dried up old maid. I can't help but think she lives a bit too much inside her head and the book was not enlivened by this. I did, however, enjoy the descriptions of life in Edinburgh and of the city itself, which is a place I've wanted to visit for some time now.

At any rate, I am going to seek out The Sunday Philosophy Club, which is the first book in this series, and see if I find Isabel Dalhousie interesting enough to make this series compelling to keep reading if the prolific Mr McCall Smith (who has apparently written another No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book) wants to keep writing about Isabel Dalhousie.

Other books I've read by this author:
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Portuguese Irregular Verbs

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