Location, Location, Location….

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

As charming as the bohemian street in which it’s set. (SCOTTISH DAILY RECORD)

It is hard to think of a contemporary writer more genuinely engaging…[his] novels are also extremely funny: I find it impossible to think about them without smiling (Craig Brown, MAIL ON SUNDAY)

A treasure of a writer whose books deserve immediate devouring (Marcel Berlins, GUARDIAN)

a hilarious yet sharply insightful tale of middle-class Edinburgh … a joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles (SUNDAY EXPRESS)

All the critics seem to love this novel, which revolves around the comings and goings at No. 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh, but what would Berwick Book Group think? The group was somewhat reduced with a number of members working or away on holiday, but for those who did attend, this was another Marmite book with some loathing it and others, including Martin, loving it. His review follows:

’44 Scotland Street is the first of a series of ensemble novels following the lives of a number of the inhabitants of this Edinburgh town house and their neighbours. Re-reading it after 10 years I was surprised by how much of the book is devoted to the execrable Bruce and how little to Bertie. Happily in subsequent episodes that is reversed. For me the whole success of the series is the introduction of Bertie a delightfully precocious 4 year old with a dangerously opinionated mother, Irene. His young, rational counter-thoughts to her ludicrous and bigoted attempts to squash any nasty masculine tendencies in her son are the stuff of legend. This is not a weighty tome, it is a very light-hearted glimpse of genteel Edinburgh society filled mostly with an essential goodness and caring about others.’

Martin once again led the meeting in my absence. Thanks Martin! I’m looking forward to returning for our July meeting where we’ll be discussing The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger.

Ann Coburn


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About the book group

The Berwick Book Group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the First Class Passenger Lounge on the platform of Berwick Train Station at 6.30pm.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit www.newwritingnorth.com/submit/join-berwick-book-group.

June 2015
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