Review of '44 Scotland Street'

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
1st book in the '44 Scotland Street' series

44_scotland_street.jpg Pat has just moved into a flat on 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh which she shares with the narcissistic rugby player Bruce. She takes a liking to her neighbour Domenica who gives her the inside story on 44 Scotland Street and her flatmate. Another neighbour, Irene, is an overbearing mother that wants only the best for her precocious five-year-old son who is now in therapy after a bit of rebellion at having to speak Italian all the time (resulting in his suspension from pre-school) and playing the saxophone.

Pat is on her “second gap year”, “finding herself” in this new world on Scotland Street. She has taken up a job working at an art gallery whose owner is not at all interested in business (but whose father thinks it would be good for him to learn some responsibility).

This story was originally published in instalments in The Scotsman with each chapter being only a few pages long. This style effects the story as nothing really happens in the book: A few minor story-lines start and finish but nothing of any real significance. It is sort of a bit like reading a soap opera, as I was telling my wife. Whether this is good or bad I will leave it up to you to decide. I will say I only completed reading it now on the second attempt having given up after only a few chapters on the first…

The characters of the story are brought to life by the author and are very believable as are the events portrayed. The way Edinburgh is described is vivid and as real as I remember it so it is a bit of a love letter to the city.

Interesting, slightly, perhaps, but not exactly a page-turner. Easy to read as you can digest it is very small chunks.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2015-05-01

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Abacus

Publication Date: 2005

ISBN: 978-0349118970

Other reviewed books by Alexander McCall Smith: