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Search tags: Alexander-McCall-Smith
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review 2018-03-05 19:49
Hmmmm.....
My Italian Bulldozer: A Novel - Alexander McCall Smith

I really enjoyed the first book of the Ladies' Detective Agency, but the second and third didn't have the same impact for me, so I haven't persevered with them. The Professor von Igelfeld series was a huge disappointment, so I wasn't particularly excited when my book group decided they wanted to read an Alexander McCall Smith book because the author was coming for our Lit Fest. It had to be a stand-alone book, and his most recent non-series novel was My Italian Bulldozer. I listened to a sample of the audio version but found the narrator irritating, so I went ahead with the book.

It started out reasonably well, with cookery author, Paul Stewart, heading for Italy to finish his overdue book on Italian cookery. He has a somewhat dubious encounter at the car rental office on arrival in Pisa, that results in him hiring the only remaining vehicle in town, a bulldozer. The story continues on from there, with one crazy situation following on from the previous, in quick succession.

This is definitely a book for fans of farce, which I certainly am not. 
It got pretty much slated by my book group, so at least I was not alone. It was hard to discuss because there really wasn't anything of substance in the story. The most interesting part related to the random positioning of boundaries that decreed whether given a wine was entitled to a prestigious title or not.

Did it make me want to take a trip to Italy? Yes, it was pretty atmospheric.
Will I read any more from this author? Probably not, sadly.

To top it off, Mr McCall Smith got stuck in the snow in UK and didn't make his scheduled session anyway!!

 

Previously read:
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency (5 stars)
Tears of the Giraffe (3 stars)
Morality for Beautiful Girls (3 stars)

The 21/2 Pillars of Wisdom (1 star)
At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (1 star)

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review 2016-08-30 14:35
Corduroy Mansions ★★☆☆☆
Corduroy Mansions - Alexander McCall Smith

It started out well, with a quirky cast of characters and funny little observations about people and the world in general. But it never gelled as a story, and many characters ended up feeling like having a houseful of guests who are at first amusing, then tiresome, then annoying, and who won't take the hint to leave. The clumsy attempt to tie together the characters' storylines failed, and half the plot points hinted at in the first half of the book went nowhere, and worst of all, every single female character (5 of them) revolved around their desperate need for men.  

 

In the end, the only character I could even work up an interest in was the dog. 

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text 2016-08-14 16:25
Corduroy Mansions - progress 52/353 pages
Corduroy Mansions - Alexander McCall Smith

"The disdain William had picked up on the telephone was present in the flesh, he thought; his host's aquiline nose was carried at such an angle as to look down on his guest, as if slightly displeased - if noses can express such things."

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text 2016-08-13 14:32
Corduroy Mansions - progress 38/353 pages
Corduroy Mansions - Alexander McCall Smith

     "'The dog was shared by two households. If one set of people had to go away, the dog went to the other. It divided its time.'

     William nodded. 'A useful arrangement. People sometimes have that sort of thing for their elderly relatives.'"

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text 2016-08-12 13:33
Corduroy Mansions - progress: 27/353 pages
Corduroy Mansions - Alexander McCall Smith

So far, we are just being introduced to the cast of characters as they start a regular weekday morning. It's using 3rd person omniscient POV for each character, which can be a little wearing to read for so many characters, but so far it's working well. I'm entertained and curious to see how the character storylines will interact. 

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