Friday, September 01, 2006

Book Review - Espresso Tales

I recently picked up Alexander McCall Smith's Espresso Tales. It's from a series called "44 Scotland Street". I've read several of McCall Smith's novels - a couple from his Africa series (that I can't remember the name of right now) and a couple set in Scotland. However, they weren't part of the same series.
The book features stories of the tenants of a Edinburgh townhouse - six year old Bertie & his parents, Bruce, Pat and Domenica.
It probably would have helped if I had read the first book in the series. As it was, I felt like I was plunged into the middle of events that I really didn't understand. I figured it out as the book went on but the first few chapters were a little confusing.
I found the style of this book to be somewhat offputting. In previous books of his that I've read, his writing was not nearly as disjointed. It may be that because the book is titled Espresso Tales that McCall Smith purposefully jumped from one character to the next without tying the story line together very much (the characters intersect sometimes, some more than others, but the point of view changes each time) but overall, I didn't enjoy his writing style nearly as much as the other books I've read. It seemed to plod along rather than flow.
Overall, the stories themselves were fairly interesting. Several of the characters either learned their lesson and, one hopes, changed their behaviours or they learned something more about themselves. I think I would recommend the series but probably recommend starting with the first book instead of the second!

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

I'm reading this book right now, but I did read the first one last year. I would have had trouble if this was the first one I'd read.

Did you know he wrote this as a newspaper serial? Each little chapter was one day's writing. He's currently writing the third year and when that's done it will be the third book.