Publication Order of 44 Scotland Street Books
|44 Scotland Street||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Espresso Tales||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Love Over Scotland||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The World According to Bertie||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Unbearable Lightness of Scones||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Importance of Being Seven||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Bertie Plays the Blues||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Sunshine on Scotland Street||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Revolving Door of Life||(2015)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
The 44 Scotland Street serial novel follows the lives, affections, shortfalls and laments of a group of residents of 44 Scotland Street; a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh. With its numerous occupancy flats, 44 Scotland Street is a corner of Edinburgh’s New Town that arouses lots of interest; an Edinburgh mix of Bohemians, the aged haute bourgeoisie, students and vibrant members of the intelligentsia. It’s as street with its own share of peculiarities and failures.
The old haute bourgeoisie finds itself having to deal with students, poets and portraitists. The city of Edinburgh vividly rises to life in this gently satirical and generous-humored serial novel. The piercing perceptions feature the adventures of Bertie the child prodigy; a remarkably over-analyzed five-year-old, Cyril the dog with a liking for ankles and the stylish painter Angus Lordie.
This story was first published as a serial in the Scotsman Newspaper and 44 Scotland Street was the first book in the series that adopted the same book title. In this first book, McCall Smith rewards his characters with charm and uniqueness, arousing both humor and empathy. The novel unfolds the story of Pat, a likeable but bare twenty-year-old who is of worry to her parents. She takes her second year gap from school to work in an art gallery run by Matthew. She is accepted as a tenant at 44 Scotland Street where she meets her fellow residents. These include: Bruce a futile, narcissistic and self- centered surveyor with whom she falls in love with unwillingly, Domenica MacDonald, an opinionated but fascinating middle-aged widow who is an anthropologist and Angus, a portrait painter and owner of Cyril, the dog with a fetish for ankles.
While Pat works at Matthew’s gallery, she points out that one of the paintings had and illusion of being a work of Samuel Peploe. It’s interesting that Matthew, the owner of the art gallery, has almost no knowledge in art. He doesn’t seem much of a business man either and his bills are met by his father who was still the one who gave him the art gallery. Their gallery is broken into and Matthew decides to ask Pat to keep the esteemed painting at her flat until they are sure it’s a genuine Peploe. Matthew is clearly attracted to Pat and would wish to date her but Pat doesn’t reciprocate the attention and is worried about getting involved with her boss. While Brice is certainly a nightmare, Pat can’t help falling for him. The situation sinks deeper when Bruce, a stalwart of the South Edinburgh Conservative Association, gives the painting to the Conservative Association for a find raising auction. Matthew and Pat are worried on how to get back this painting they deem very valuable.
The story focuses on five-year-old Bertie who has a Grade Six on the Saxophone and speaks fluent Italian at the will of a pushy mother Irene. Bertie gets into trouble and is expelled from East New Town Nursery. His mother forces him into psychotherapy where he continues to be misinterpreted on his wish to be a normal five-year-old.
44 Scotland Street gives a distinct point of view in each character advancing the action, delight and heavy drops of insight about themselves and how they think of each other. Espresso Tales is the second book in the serial series. It returns to the glorious casts of the tales of Edinburgh, the colorful residents of 44 Scotland Street with a new suite of challenges for each character.
Espresso Tales shows us Pat losing her sense of attraction to Bruce, the attractive narcissist. Domenica tries to help her in Pat’s love life by matchmaking her with a good-looking young waiter. Pat MacGregor finds herself in a nudist picnic with the waiter in her pursuit of true love. Domenica finds interest in pirates and draws elaborate plans to embark on a journey to South China for her fieldwork. Pat goes back to university but still works part-time at Matthew’s art gallery.
Matthew still cherishes part who doesn’t reciprocate her feelings towards him. His father finds a girlfriend who Matthew thinks is after his money. Matthew clearly doesn’t like her but perhaps dad’s new girlfriend can prove to Matthew who she really is.
The characters are forgiven in their weaknesses and showered in satire and good-humored love. For instance, Ramsey Dubarton, the lawyer, puts his wife to sleep by reading her his written memoirs.
After Bruce is caught enjoying a romantic meal with his employer’s wife, he loses his job and his American girlfriend rejects him. This intolerably ineffective and disillusioned ex-surveyor is about to embark on a new career as a wine merchant. It doesn’t start easy for him when he tries convincing a friend into partnership. The friend’s lover, to whom Bruce is rude and ignorant, might just not let him have this partnership. Bruce gets even more worried when discovers that some Chateau Petrus he purchased might be fake which would send him crawling at a financial loss.
Perhaps Bertie, the precocious five-year-old will have the normal boyhood life envisioned by his father, Stuart. Bertie desires to go to Watson school where he would get a chance to play rugby. He wants his life to be defined by fishing and rugby, not yoga and Italian lessons designed by his clingy mother. This makes him plot rebellion against his mother. The meetings with Bertie’s psychiatrist are entertaining as is the psychiatrist’s attempt to finally have catharsis with this child prodigy; his legendary patient. Bertie’s trip to Glasgow with his father Stuart ends with Bertie taking money at cards off Lard O’Connor, a legendary Glasgow gangster. It feels as if Bertie should have been more wary of his wishes. In the course of this adventure, Irene and Dr Fairbairn, the psychotherapist, are engaged in a web of dark secrets and hidden deep-felt urges.
McCall delivers abundant wit and unexpected twists and turns as he splits the pretense, glamour and self-defeating moves in the daily lives of the characters. This makes 44 Scotland Street a book series so deftly created that the reader feels to intimately know the characters after a couple of appearances. The 44 Scotland Street appears in the Scotsman newspaper for over 3 months in every year making it the longest running serial novel globally. It marked its 10th anniversary with the publishing of the tenth volume the Revolving Door in 2015. This charming and joyous illustration of city life and human shortcomings is a powerful addicting fiction. Every reader will find it gentle, delightful and graceful but full of fun characters and humor down to the last volume.Book Series In Order » Characters » 44 Scotland Street