Alexander McCall Smith, who is responsible for the quote which is the title of today’s blog, is quite a prolific Scottish writer. The 44 Scotland Street series is just so wonderful. I realize that books fall into uncountable categories – there are the ones that you will love no matter how many times you re-read them, the ones that you couldn’t finish if someone paid you, the ones that you couldn’t understand why you liked them in the first place and why were you re-reading it now, the ones you will never like no matter what.
For this time in my life, I totally love this series and fell in love with the characters whether I liked them as people, or not. Each character takes his or her lead as the narrative documents the daily lives of some individuals in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sometimes their lives intersect, many times they do not. It is not so much each event in and of itself that is endearing, but the telling of how communication – both listening and telling – is tempered. What one was thinking versus what one has said. It is filled with humor, compassion, and a wonderful perspective of life.
The chapter division give the feel of blog entries. This gives a journaling perspective to the story – but from a character who is never identified or involved – never judging, condemning or applauding. Although there is a lot of description of the “Scottish” or “Edinburgh” personality, we are all human in the end, and many of the feelings and expectations are universal.
To quote from Dr. Fairborn in The World According to Bertie, the fourth novel in the series, “Each of us, you see, has a secret Eden, which we feel has been lost. If we can find it again, we will be happy, but Edens are not easily regained, no matter how hard we look, no matter how desperately we want to find them.”