- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 32 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: July 20, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003X4VHNO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Corduroy Mansions: A Novel Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Bertie is a delightful child character and some kind of a naive character like him is missing in this book. Terrance doesn't quite make it for me.
I haven't found much of the charm of Cyril the dog in Freddie de la hay. Is he or isn't he enjoying meat ? It's unclear.
Anyway, I will soldier on to the next two books because Alexander McCall Smith has been reliably enjoyable for the 12-14 books I've read.
If there is any difference in entertainment value it might be that there emerged no one quite like Bertie (in the Scotland series). In my mind he evolved to be the main character and took over the series (with very positive and humorous results). If you enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's writing be sure to check out the Scotland series as well. 44 Scotland Street: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (1) to The World According to Bertie: A 44 Scotland Street Novel (4).
Now the author has taken a challenge to repeat his Edinburgh trick in London, with a daily internet story. I gave this first book a try, since I thought a change of venue might improve things. But no - this is 353 pages of shallowly-drawn characters engaged in mundane activities and conversations, just petering out at the end without any resolution (unless you buy the next couple of books, I suppose).
My guess is that these books come easy for McCall Smith because when he runs out of steam, he can just switch back to another part of the story and drone on about that for awhile. It is a shame to compare him to Dickens, or any of the other Victorian serial writers, because their books actually contained plots that developed, followed an arc, and ended. True, those books did contain some one-dimensional characters, but even the minor ones are memorable. On the other hand, two days after finishing "Corduroy Mansions," I can barely remember any of the characters' names, except for the Trollopian "Oedipus Snark" (remind anyone of "Obadiah Snape" from Trollope's "The Warden"?).
My other guess is that the author, who clearly is intelligent and writes WELL although uninterestingly, has a lot of things on his mind and uses his characters as an excuse to talk about them. The Dalhousie books were full of his philosophical monologs. Just count how many times in this book two characters branch off onto a remote topic and talk about it for a page or two. It's almost as if McCall Smith is showing us just how vast his knowledge is. If only he would spend as much time developing a story as he does blathering about every topic under the sun. I will not be returning to Corduroy Mansions, because I have a sneaking feeling that nothing will ever happen there worth reading about.