Last night I managed to gobble up this new little book in one sitting! It’s described as a literary “amuse-bouche” – a single bite-sized hors d’oeurve. A tasty little treat, perfect for stuffing – a stocking not a turkey, that is!
Cornelius and Betty O’Leary take a trip of a lifetime to Ireland, the land of their roots. But as so often is the case, the trip becomes very different from what they had imagined. The nostalgia soon begins to fade when the luggage gets lost and it doesn’t stop there, calamity and mayhem ensue in proportion to Fatty’s size. McCall Smith’s priceless sense of humour is pitched just right in this little volume. But he also grapples with an aspect of the immigrant experience. Going back often doesn’t match the dear memories of the ‘old country’ or live up to the family folklore.
Recently I heard this author speak at Daunt Books in London, which is happily now becoming a yearly event for me! When he reads from his books and talks about his characters, with tears running down his cheeks (and all of ours) from laughing, you realize how much he loves his writing. This book is not part of any series and joins his other ‘stand alone’ books. Incidentally, another recent book of his, is a modern day rewrite of Jane Austen’s Emma.
Emma by Alexander McCall Smith