Friday, March 22, 2013

Germans Make For Some Light Humor

Oish, behind, behind.  So far behind order becomes a fuzzy thing.  Luckily I wrote down a list of books to review before I forgot, so Iet's just pick one - Porteguese Irregular Verbs, by our ubiquitous Alexander McCall Smith.  This is actually the first in a series of which I read the other two previously.  They are some of AMS's funnier work, with very little serious intent at all.  Professor vod Igelfeld and his colleagues take themselves very seriously, but I don't think we are meant to take them seriously at all.

(This was, by the way, kindle reading, and free from the library,  if you're wondering)

So I think the first thing to clarify about this book is just how seriously one is supposed to take it.  I mean, the professor's subject matter, linguistics, is certainly not meant to be accorded the importance he gives it.  So that gives you a hint as to the legitimacy of his opinions :) I guess the only question is whether we are supposed to advise his colleague Unterhollzer with the same pity he does and whether his colleagues accord him the respect he seems to assume they do.  Pretty sure the answer is yes, but it makes little difference - overall this is a story of a man quite disconnected from reality, and amusingly so. Most of AMS's books have a good amount of humor in them, but I think these are the only ones with no serious side at all.  Part of the reason is that these are short stories, with no need for real plot development, but mostly it's just because I think.

And as far as the humor goes, I don't know if it's laugh-out-loud funny, but it has its moments.  Once I stopped trying to decide who was sympathetic and who was not, I could just enjoy the ridiculousness of Prof. von Igelfeld's opinions of the world, his colleagues, and himself.  And enjoy the mostly ridiculous plot devices as well.  The book went fast, though there's no denying it's quite short in any case :) Basically, a fun read - can't say I would have wanted it to go on forever, but I think there's a fourth one out on the series, I should really try to get my hands on it.

Verdict: 4/5 (for its genre)

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