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Espresso Tales
Cover of Espresso Tales
Espresso Tales
44 Scotland Street Series, Book 2
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44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 2

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.

Full of McCall Smith's gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author's own words, "make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world."

44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 2

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.

Full of McCall Smith's gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author's own words, "make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world."

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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.0
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One 1. Semiotics, Pubs, Decisions It was summer. The forward movement of the year, so tentative in the early months of spring, now seemed quite relentless. The longest day, which always seemed to arrive indecently early, had passed in a bluster of wind and light rain, but had been followed by a glorious burst of warmth that penetrated the very stones of Edinburgh. Out on the pavements, small clusters of tables and chairs appeared here and there, populated by knots of people who could hardly believe that they were sitting outside, in Scotland, in late summer. All of them knew that this simply could not last. September was not far off, and after that, as was well-known to all but the most confused, was October - and darkness. And Scottish weather, true to its cultural traditions, made one thing abundantly clear: you paid for what you enjoyed, and you usually paid quite promptly. This was a principle which was inevitably observed by nature in Scotland. That vista of mountains and sea lochs was all very well, but what was that coming up behind you? A cloud of midges. Pat Macgregor walked past just such café-hedonists on her way back to Scotland Street. She had crossed the town on foot earlier that day to have lunch with her father - her mother was still away, this time visiting another troublesome sister in Forfar - and her father had invited her for Saturday lunch in the Canny Man's on Morningside Road. This was a curious place, an Edinburgh institution, with its cluttered shelves of non-sequitur objects and its numerous pictures. And, like the trophies on the walls, the denizens of the place had more than passing historical or aesthetic interest about them. Here one might on a Saturday afternoon meet a well-known raconteur enjoying a glass of beer with an old friend, or, very occasionally, one might spot Ramsey Dunbarton, from the Braids, who many years ago had played the Duke of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers at the Church Hill Theatre (with such conspicuous success). There was no such interest that day. A mousy-looking man in a blue suit sat silently in a corner with a woman companion; the silence that reigned between them being broken only by the occasional sigh by one or other of them. He looked steadfastly down at the menu of open sandwiches, as if defeated by the choice and by life; her gaze moved about - out of the window, at the small slice of sky between the Morningside Road tenements, at the barman polishing glasses, at the tiles on the floor. As she waited for her father to arrive, Pat found herself wondering at the road which had brought them to this arid point - a lifetime of small talk, perhaps, that had simply run out of steam; or perhaps this is what came of being married. Surely not, she thought; her own parents were still able to look at one another and find at least something to say, although often there was a formality in their conversation that made her uncomfortable - as if they were talking a language, like court Japanese, that imposed heavily on them to be correct. In Pat's company, her father seemed more comfortable. Leaning back in the bench seat at the Canny Man's while he perused the menu, his conversation took its usual course, moving, by easy association, from topic to topic. "This is, of course, the Canny Man's," he observed. "You'll notice that the sign outside says something quite different. The Volunteer Arms. But everybody - or everybody in the know, that is - calls it the Canny Man's. And that pub down on the way to Slateford is called the Gravediggers, although the sign outside says Athletic Arms. These are verbal tests, you see. Designed to distinguish." Pat looked at him...
About the Author-
  • Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the huge international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series and The Sunday Philosophy Club series. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and was a law professor at the University of Botswana and at Edinburgh University. He lives in Scotland.


Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 22, 2006
    Once again McCall Smith fixes his telescope on the windows of 44 Scotland Street, the converted Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh that provided the title for his previous novel and initiated this latest series. This time out, perhaps Bertie, the gifted five-and-three-quarter-year-old, will be allowed to have the normal boyhood envisioned by his father, Stuart, and go trout fishing instead of taking yoga and Italian lessons in the "ungendered" life designed by his mother, Irene. But maybe trout fishing will turn out to be less than idyllic. McCall Smith delivers plenty of twists and turns as he skewers the puffery, the pretense, the tedium and self-defeating moves in his characters' daily lives. He also forgives them their weaknesses and bathes them in love. Take Ramsey Dubarton, who puts his wife, Betty, to sleep by reading her installments of his memoirs: Betty dozes and the reader laughs—with real admiration for his opacity. As ever, McCall Smith's pacing is impeccable: moving his focus from one character to another seamlessly, dropping in just the right amount of description, keeping the talk light and sharp. Fans of this new series, here served with plenty of java, will be buzzed to know that a third volume is in the making.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2006
    Adult/High School-This is the second volume of a serial novel that the author has been publishing in "The Scotsman" about a group of loosely connected people living in present-day Edinburgh. The most interesting character for teen readers is Bertie Pollock, a precocious six-year-old who is being forced by his mother to study Italian, play the saxophone, take yoga, and endure psychoanalysis because of his understandable rebellion against her efforts to prevent him from being an ordinary boy. Bertie and his father grow closer and eventually assert their independence. Mrs. Pollock, meanwhile, has her own moments of revelation as she discovers that the analyst is not as perfect as she thought. The other stories revolve around a coffee-shop owner and some of her patrons and the residents of 44 Scotland Street, who were the subjects of the first book. Many of the characters are strikingly flawed, but McCall Smith eventually finds some redeeming, human side to them. He examines Scottish culture, from would-be art and wine dealers to raincoat-wearing nudists and members of the Scottish mafia. The relationships among the characters grow in unexpected and touching ways. The author has a critical yet forgiving eye for human failings. This novel is a prose poem about the small things in life that are being threatened by globalization and mass entertainment."Will Marston, Berkeley Public Library, CA"

    Copyright 2006 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The Gazette (Montreal) Praise for the National Bestseller 44 Scotland Street:
    "McCall Smith shows an Austen-like sensitivity to the interactions of daily life."
  • The Globe and Mail "It's possible the novels of Alexander McCall Smith have been invented as a cunning antidote to the accelerations of modern times."
  • Chicago Sun-Times "Irresistible. . . . Smith has rendered another winner, packed with the charming characters, piercing perceptions and shrewd yet generous humour that have become his cachet."
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune "This soulful, sweet collection of stories will make you feel as though you live in Edinburgh, if only for a short while, and it's a fine place to visit indeed. . . . Long live the folks on Scotland Street."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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44 Scotland Street Series, Book 2
Alexander McCall Smith
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