Monday, April 12, 2010

La's Orchestra Saves the World

I'm a pretty avid reader of Alexander McCall Smith, not least because he's such a prolific writer.  He's right up my alley for two reasons - 1) many of his books take place in Scotland and I'm a total Anglophile and 2) nothing bad ever happens - the tone can be described as idyllic (in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency most of all I think).  With that, he has a pretty light touch and a dry (very dry) sense of humor.  Anyway, don't get the wrong idea, I'm not literary critic, I just like these books because they are happy.  So what can I say about La? The interesting thing, pretty much the same thing - it's got that dulcet English tone, and moves along pretty peaceful - and this is *despite* the fact that La marries a man she doesn't love, then falls in love with him but can't have children, then he leaves her for another woman, then he dies, and then WWII.... and then she falls in love with a Polish refugee who may or may not love her back but never says anything and then she reports him as a German and he leaves... and 20 years later they meet again... but yes, with all that, it's not a disturbing book.  Of course, any book about WWII is just so sad- the sense of loss is too prevailing... but AMS manages to create such a cocoon it's not so bad...

The other thing that struck me about this book is how proud the English are of what they did in WWII - and rightfully proud.  My father was just mentioning how it was basically Churchill against the world - no one wanted to stand up to the Nazis, but Britain stood up and sent their sons to basically die (I don't know the fatality rate in the RAF but it was ridiculously high) - it even makes me proud to be an Anglophile :)

So was it a good book? I liked it, mainly because it was about England.  It was a little slow moving, but definitely well written... 3.5/5

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