Sunday, January 23, 2011

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

About the book: Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteel, crumbling mansion block in London’s vibrant Pimlico neighborhood and the home turf of a captivating collection of quirky and altogether McCall-Smithian characters. There’s the middle-aged wine merchant William, who’s trying to convince his reluctant twenty-four-year-old son, Eddie, to leave the nest; and Marcia, the boutique caterer who has her sights set on William. There’s also the (justifiably) much-loathed Member of Parliament Oedipus Snark; his mother, Berthea, who’s writing his biography and hating every minute of it; and his long-suffering girlfriend, Barbara, a literary agent who would like to be his wife (but, then, she’d like to be almost anyone’s wife). There’s the vitamin evangelist, the psychoanalyst, the art student with a puzzling boyfriend and Freddie de la Hay, the Pimlico terrier who insists on wearing a seat belt and is almost certainly the only avowed vegetarian canine in London.

Filled with the ins and outs of neighborliness in all its unexpected variations, Corduroy Mansions showcases the life, laughter and humanity that have become the hallmarks of Alexander McCall Smith’s work.

First line: Passing off, thought William.

My Thoughts: I fully expected to love this book since I like The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series so well. The characters are quirky and drive the novel, the narration is set at a gentle pace. For these characters life simply happens as we move from chapter to chapter. It is not one big story but several stories that intersect at Corduroy Mansions then go on their ways. My favorite part was the dog, Freddy de la Hay. He had been trained as a sniffer dog at Heathrow. However he lost his job because there were more male dogs employed than female dogs. Equal opportunity prevailed and half the male dogs were fired to make openings for female dogs. LOL. I've recommended this author's work before, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Now I recommend this, the first book and his new series. Can't wait to get the next one to see how things turnout.

Why this book? I learned about this book online while reading about the orignal serialized form. That caught me up and as soon as I found it I got it.

Genre: Fiction, Literature
Pages: 353
Publisher: Pantheon (July 13, 2010)
Source: Barnes and Noble


Quote: And the reason for that, she decided, was that Oedipus Snark was profoundly solipsistic. If he paid no attention to her feelings, it was because he did not see her. For one who was constantly adding "See?" to his observations, he saw remarkably little.

New Word: oleaginous: 1. oily. 2. marked by an offensively ingratiating manner or quality.
(This word was used, or course, to describe Oedipus Snark)
Alexander McCall Smith
@ Romance Reader


bermudaonion said...

I'd buy this book just for the dog on the cover, so I'm glad to see it's good.

Sharon said...

I'm a sucker for a dog on the cover of a book too!

Teddyree said...

Aww the cover was what made me read your review, will keep an eye out for this one ... thanks Sharon

Anonymous said...

I'd buy this book just for the dog on the cover, so I'm glad to see it's good.
S&D Book Publishers