44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street Series #1)

44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street Series #1)

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Overview

44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 1

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.  

Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.

Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400079445
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/14/2005
Series: 44 Scotland Street Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 107,465
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the huge international phenomenon, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and The Sunday Philosophy Club series. He is a professor of medical law at Edinburgh University. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.

Hometown:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Date of Birth:

August 24, 1948

Place of Birth:

Zimbabwe

Read an Excerpt

1. Stuff Happens Pat stood before the door at the bottom of the stair, reading the names underneath the buttons. Syme, Macdonald, Pollock, and then the name she was looking for: Anderson. That would be Bruce Anderson, the surveyor, the person to whom she had spoken on the telephone. He was the one who collected the rent, he said, and paid the bills. He was the one who had said that she could come and take a look at the place and see whether she wanted to live there. "And we'll take a look at you," he had added. "If you don't mind." So now, she thought, she would be under inspection, assessed for suitability for a shared flat, weighed up to see whether she was likely to play music too loudly or have friends who would damage the furniture. Or, she supposed, whether she would jar on anybody's nerves. She pressed the bell and waited. After a few moments something buzzed and she pushed open the large black door with its numerals, 44, its lion's head knocker, and its tarnished brass plate above the handle. The door was somewhat shabby, needing a coat of paint to cover the places where the paintwork had been scratched or chipped away. Well, this was Scotland Street, not Moray Place or Doune Terrace; not even Drummond Place, the handsome square from which Scotland Street descended in a steep slope. This street was on the edge of the Bohemian part of the Edinburgh New Town, the part where lawyers and accountants were outnumbered - just - by others. She climbed up four flights of stairs to reach the top landing. Two flats led off this, one with a dark green door and no nameplate in sight, and another, painted blue, with a piece of paper on which three names had been written in large lettering. As she stepped onto the landing, the blue door was opened and she found herself face-to-face with a tall young man, probably three or four years older than herself, his dark hair en brosse and wearing a rugby jersey. Triple Crown, she read. Next year. And after that, in parenthesis, the word: Maybe. "I'm Bruce," he said. "And I take it you're Pat." He smiled at her, and gestured for her to come into the flat. "I like the street," she said. "I like this part of town." He nodded. "So do I. I lived up in Marchmont until a year ago and now I'm over here. It's central. It's quiet. Marchmont got a bit too studenty." She followed him into a living room, a large room with a black marble fireplace on one side and a rickety bookcase against the facing wall. "This is the sitting room," he said. "It's nothing great, but it gets the sun." She glanced at the sofa, which was covered with a faded chintzy material stained in one or two places with spills of tea or coffee. It was typical of the sofas which one found in shared flats as a student; sofas that had been battered and humiliated, slept on by drunken and sober friends alike, and which would, on cleaning, disgorge copious sums in change, and ballpoint pens, and other bits and pieces dropped from generations of pockets. She looked at Bruce. He was good-looking in a way which one might describe as . . . well, how might one describe it? Fresh-faced? Open? Of course, the rugby shirt gave it away: he was the sort that one saw by the hundred, by the thousand, streaming out of Murrayfield after a rugby international. Wholesome was the word which her mother would have used, and which Pat would have derided. But it was a useful word when it came to describe Bruce. Wholesome. Bruce was returning her gaze. Twenty, he thought. Quite expensively dressed. Tanned in a way which suggested outside pursuits. Average height. Attractive enough, in a rather willowy way. Not my type (this last conclusion, with a slight tinge of regret). "What do you do?" he asked. Occasions like this, he thought, were times for bluntness. One might as well find out as much as one could before deciding to take her, and it was he who would have to make the decision because Ian and Sarah were off travelling for a few months and they were relying on him to find someone. Pat looked up at the cornice. "I'm on a gap year," she said, and added, because truth required it after all: "It's my second gap year, actually." Bruce stared at her, and then burst out laughing. "Your second gap year?" Pat nodded. She felt miserable. Everybody said that. Everybody said that because they had no idea of what had happened. "My first one was a disaster," she said. "So I started again." Bruce picked up a matchbox and rattled it absent-mindedly. "What went wrong?" he asked. "Do you mind if I don't tell you? Or just not yet." He shrugged. "Stuff happens," he said. "It really does." After her meeting with Bruce, Pat returned to her parents' house on the south side of Edinburgh. She found her father in his study, a disorganised room stacked with back copies of the Journal of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She told him of the meeting with Bruce. "It didn't last long," she said. "I had expected a whole lot of them. But there was only him. The others were away somewhere or other." Her father raised an eyebrow. In his day, young people had shared flats with others of the same sex. There were some mixed flats, of course, but these were regarded as being a bit - how should one put it? - adventurous. He had shared a flat in Argyle Place, in the shadow of the Sick Kids' Hospital, with three other male medical students. They had lived there for years, right up to the time of graduation, and even after that one of them had kept it on while he was doing his houseman's year. Girlfriends had come for weekends now and then, but that had been the exception. Now, men and women lived together in total innocence (sometimes) as if in Eden. "It's not just him?" he asked. "There are others?" "Yes," she said. "Or at least I think so. There were four rooms. Don't worry." "I'm not worrying." "You are." He pursed his lips. "You could always stay at home, you know. We wouldn't interfere." She looked at him, and he shook his head. "No," he went on. "I understand. You have to lead your own life. We know that. That's what gap years are for." "Exactly," said Pat. "A gap year is . . ." She faltered. She was not at all sure what a gap year was really for, and this was her second. Was it a time in which to grow up? Was it an expensive indulgence, a rite de passage for the offspring of wealthy parents? In many cases, she thought, it was an expensive holiday: a spell in South America imposing yourself on a puzzled community somewhere, teaching them English and painting the local school. There were all sorts of organisations that arranged these things. There might even be one called Paint Aid, for all she knew - an organisation which went out and painted places that looked in need of a coat of paint. She herself had painted half a school in Ecuador before somebody stole the remaining supplies of paint and they had been obliged to stop. Her father waited for her to finish the sentence, but she did not. So he changed the subject and asked her when she was going to move in. He would transport everything, as he always did; the bundles of clothing, the bedside lamp, the suitcases, the kettle. And he would not complain. "And work?" he asked. "When do you start at the gallery?" "Tuesday," said Pat. "They're closed on Mondays. Tuesday's my first day." "You must be pleased about that," said her father. "Working in a gallery. Isn't that what most of you people want to do?" "Not in particular," said Pat, somewhat irritated. Her father used the expression you people indiscriminately to encompass Pat, her age group, and her circle of friends. Some people wanted to work in a gallery, and perhaps there were a lot of those, but it was hardly a universal desire. There were presumably some people who wanted to work in bars, to work with beer, so to speak; and there were people, plenty of people, who would find themselves quite uncomfortable in a gallery. Bruce, for instance, with his rugby shirt and his en brosse haircut. He was not gallery material. That had been another interview altogether. She had seen the discreet, hand-written notice in the window of the gallery a few streets away. A bit of help wanted. Reception. Answering the phone - that sort of thing. The wording had been diffident, as if it was almost indecent to suggest that anybody who read it might actually be looking for something to do. But when she had gone in and found the tall, slightly lost-looking young man sitting at his desk - the wording had seemed perfect. "It's not much of a job," he had said. "You won't have to sell any paintings, I expect. You'll just be providing cover for me. And you'll have to do the occasional other thing. This and that. You know." She did not know, but did not ask. It looked as if he might have found it tedious to give the details of the job. And he certainly asked her nothing about herself, not even her name, before he sat back in his chair, folded his arms, and said: "The job's yours if you want it. Want it?" 2. A Room with a Smell Bruce had shown Pat the vacant room in the flat and this had brought home to him what a complete slut Anna had been. He had asked her to clean the room before she left - he had asked her at least twice - and she had assured him, twice, that it would be done. But he should have known that she did not mean it, and now, looking at the room with a visitor's eyes, he saw what she had done. The middle of the carpet had been vacuumed, and looked clean enough, but everywhere else looked dirty and neglected. The bed, pulled halfway away from the wall, had large balls of dust under it, as well as a collapsed stack of magazines. A glass of water, with lipstick stains on the rim, had been left on the bedside table. She had moved out a week ago and he should have checked, but he had always hated going into the room while she was there and her presence somehow lingered. So he had left the door closed and tried to forget that she had ever lived there. Pat stood still for a moment. There was a musty odour to the room; a smell of unwashed sheets and clothes. "It's got a great view," said Bruce, striding across to draw the curtains, which had been left half-closed. "Look," he said. "That's the back of that street over there and that's the green. Look at the pigeons." "It's big enough," said Pat, uncertainly. "It's not just big, it's huge," said Bruce. "Huge." Pat moved over towards the wardrobe, a rickety old oak wardrobe with half-hearted art nouveau designs carved up each side. She reached out to open it. Bruce drew his breath. That slut Anna, that slut, had probably left the cupboard full of her dirty washing. That was just the sort of thing she would do; like a child, really, leaving clothes on the floor for the adults to pick up. "That's a wardrobe," he said, hoping that she would not try to open it. "I'll clean it out for you. It might have some of her stuff still in it." Pat hesitated. Was the smell any stronger near the wardrobe? She was unsure. "She didn't keep the place very clean, did she?" she said. Bruce laughed. "You're right. She was a real slut, that girl. We were all pleased when she decided to go over to Glasgow. I encouraged her. I said that the job she had been offered sounded just fine. A real opportunity." "And was it?" Bruce shrugged. "She fancied herself getting into television journalism. She had been offered a job making tea for some producer over there. Great job. Great tea possibilities." Pat moved towards the desk. One of the drawers was half-open and she could see papers inside. "It almost looks as if she's planning to come back," she said. "Maybe she hasn't moved out altogether." Bruce glanced at the drawer. He would throw all this out as soon as Pat went. And he would stop forwarding her mail too. "If there's any danger of her coming back," he said, smiling, "we'll change the locks." Later, when Pat had left, he went back to the room and opened the window. Then he crossed the room to the wardrobe and looked inside. The right-hand side was empty, but on the left, in the hanging section, there was a large plastic bag, stuffed full of clothes. This was the source of the musty odour, and, handling it gingerly, he took it out. Underneath the bag was a pair of abandoned shoes, the soles curling off. He picked these up, looked at them with disgust, and dropped them into the open mouth of the plastic bag. He moved over to the desk. The top drawer looked as if it had been cleared out, apart from a few paper clips and a chipped plastic ruler. The drawer beneath that, half-open, had papers in it. He picked up the paper on the top and looked at it. It was a letter from a political party asking for a donation to a fighting fund. A smiling politician beamed out from a photograph. I know you care, said the politician, in bold type, I know you care enough to help me care for our common future. Bruce grimaced, crumpled up the letter, and tossed it into the black plastic bag. He picked up the next piece of paper and began to read it. It was handwritten, the second or subsequent page of a letter as it began halfway through a sentence: which was not very clever of me! Still, I wasn't going to see them again and so I suppose it made no difference. And what about you? I don't know how you put up with those people you live with. Come through to Glasgow. I know somebody who's got a spare room in her flat and who's looking for somebody. That guy Bruce sounds a creep. I couldn't believe it when you said that you thought he read your letters. You reading this one, Bruce? It was settled. Pat had agreed to move in, and would pay rent from the following Monday. The room was not cheap, in spite of the musty smell (which Bruce pointed out was temporary) and the general dinginess of the décor (which Bruce had ignored). After all, as he pointed out to Pat, she was staying in the New Town, and the New Town was expensive whether you lived in a basement in East Claremont Street (barely New Town, Bruce said) or in a drawing-room flat in Heriot Row. And he should know, he said. He was a surveyor.

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44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street Series #1) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 99 reviews.
vanhoey More than 1 year ago
Having read all but the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, I happily decided to continue with the author into his second series, and I have not been disppointed. McCall Smith gives the reader something to sink his teeth into. This Scotland Street series is no exception. The characters he introduces in book 1 continue on to book 2. And if you are looking for colorful characters and amusing anecdotes, you will find them here as well as in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. What makes this series special is that he wrote it for serial publication. Each chapter has a little punch, if only in wit, and comes in refreshing bitesize lengths so as never to bore or tire. Highly recommended.
MushJM More than 1 year ago
This series is even better than "No.1 Ladies Detective Agency".
Guest More than 1 year ago
After you get used to the format dictated by the fact that this was initially a daily serialized novel, you cannot help but fall in love with the delightful and quirky residents of 44 Scotland Street. Not a lot happens but there is a tremendous amount of the small victories and defeats that characterize real life.
crazy4hawaii More than 1 year ago
I simply love this book and the sequels as well. It is written in segmental format as it was first published in installments for the newspaper so you have to get used to that. However, it's not long before you genuinely care about all of these delightful characters and cannot wait to see what happens to them next. It is a slice of life book, a glimpse into the lives of "real people" in a real, very interesting place. I read this book before a trip to Scotland three years ago and not only got hooked on the series, but fell in love with Edinburgh as well.
crazymilo More than 1 year ago
This book has made me laugh out loud at times and shake my head at the antics of the characters and situations they get into. I will definitely read the other books in the series. I got attached to a few of the people so I am glad I get to keep up with them. The book reminded me a lot of Marian Keyes style writing and people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smith has just enough detail for the characters so you really get to kniw them and heur personality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy reading Alexander McCall Smith. His books are quirky and fun. I love to walk through Edinbourgh with his characters!
Scottgirl More than 1 year ago
A friend recommended this book and I'm very glad I got it. It's been delightful. It's entertaing and some unfamiliar terms are used but it makes it interesting to learn some of the English terms. It was a good purchase.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book a little hard to get started with, but I kept reading and am glad I did. But the ending is unsatisfactory-too much is left unanswered. I found Domenica a delight and loved her stories-what a wonderful friend to have! I'm hoping there's going to be a sequel, because it was disappointing not to know what happened to the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I throughly enjoyed this charming book, my first by the author. The quirky set of charters is alot of fun, the plot engaging and the commentary on Scotish society is very interesting. I look forward to reading more of Alexander McCall Smith's books.
Aiyaness on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the coolest I've ever read. It really offers you an escape from your own life and a peek into the lives of those who live on Scotland Street. There is no "plot" in the modern sense, but the characters are so lovely and delicious that it hardly seems to matter. Will definitely be recommending it to people.
JanicsEblen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This, like the other books I have by Mr. Smith, was a good read. I did not enjoy it quite as much as the other books. I would still recommend that other read and enjoy.
curlycurrie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my visit to the 44 Scotland Street books and it just confirms my reason for choosing Alexander McCall Smith as one of my favourite autors. It is easy going but draws you into the lives of the characters. You could almost live in Scotland Street - grinning at Bruce's narcissim; feeling for Pat's unrequited love and wishing desparately to look through Big Lou's book collection!
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, I like the Isabel Dalhousie series, and I thoroughly enjoy the Professor von Igelfeld books. This was my first foray into the 44 Scotland Street series. It provided a different reading experience than the books I've read from the author's other series.I found this book harder to put down at the end of a chapter when I needed to move on to other activities. The novel was originally serialized in the Scotsman newspaper, and in the preface McCall Smith discusses how he adapted his writing style for the serial format. The chapters are shorter than those in his other novels, and there are more of them -- 110 in all. Each chapter ends with an unresolved situation in order to keep newspaper readers hooked and eager for the next installment. I found myself reading in longer stretches than I intended to because there didn't seem to be a good place to stop!The book reminds me of a soap opera, where all of the characters are connected in some way to 44 Scotland Street. Some of the characters live there, and the others are connected to one or more of the residents by work, social, or family ties. Just as in a soap opera, some plot lines are more interesting than others. The two threads I liked the most involved Pat, the 20-year-old girl who has just moved away from home, and Bertie, a 5-year old prodigy. Both of these characters are learning how to make their way in the world -- Pat as a newly independent young woman taking on adult responsibilities and forming adult relationships, and Bertie chafing under his mother's pressure to excel while all he really wants is to be like other boys his age. I look forward to reading more about Pat and Bertie as the series progresses!
boomda181 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
44 Scotland Street was originally written as a serial for an Edinburgh newspaper in small daily installments. The first book in a trilogy that centers around the eclectic tenants of 44 Scotland Street; their thoughts, their relationships, and their lives. There is Pat, a twenty-something in her second-gap year looking for love, passion and life; Bruce her narcissistic flatmate; Domenica who lives across the hall providing friendship and humour; the Pollock family who live below Irene who has her very own thoughts about child rearing, Bertie aged 5 and trying to be heard, and Stuart a father and husband who has no voice or chance.I enjoyed the book, but found I had to keep reminding myself that it was written as a serial. Once I adjusted to the pace of the story I really enjoyed the characters and their adventures. I loved little Bertie, the boy believed to be gifted and pushed to learn Italian and saxophone against his wishes. If only someone would talk to the boy. I look forward to reading the second and third book in the trilogy.
mbmackay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book originally published as daily instalments in an Edinburgh newspaper, in the style of Dickens and others, but as it was daily, not monthly instalments, the chapters are short and punchy. The story of the various residents of a small apartment block in a trendy part of Scotland, it is part soapie, part novel. The characters are simply painted, caricatures really, but so well chosen and consistent, that they become very real and compelling. Good stuff. Read August 2008
jo-jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a feeling that I would enjoy listening to one of Alexander McCall Smith's books on audio, and I was right! This was such a delightful book to listen to that even had me laughing at loud during certain parts and other segments had me sympathizing with their misfortunes. We are introduced to a very interesting and colorful cast of characters in this book. Pat is a very shy gal who finds herself moving into a flat at 44 Scotland Street with an arrogant roommate, Bruce. Also residing in the complex is the eccentric widow Domenica, and the child prodigy Bertie with his parents.Pat happens to be employed by an art gallery that is owned by Matthew. Although Pat is usually very soft spoken, when a specific painting comes into the gallery Pat recognizes it as possibly being a valuable work of art. She mentions this to Matthew and this painting sets the tone for the novel.Back at 44 Scotland Street Pat finds herself increasingly growing fond of her roommate Bruce. Since Bruce made a rule for himself never to become romantically involved with his flatmates, he seeks affection from another woman's arms. Pat's emotions are in turmoil from Bruce's actions and she doesn't understand how she could possibly fall in love with a man that considers himself 'God's gift to women'. By the end of the story she finally sees Bruce's true colors and I think her romantic intentions are headed in a direction where she will find a welcoming mate.Matthew decides that the painting may be too valuable to keep in the gallery so he asks Pat to take it to her flat for safekeeping, where no one would expect it to be. When Pat goes to retrieve the painting from where she has it hidden in the flat, she is shocked to find that it is gone! As they track where the painting could possibly be we are introduced to a few new and interesting characters. We are taken on a journey through Edinburgh that brings us to second-hand shops, underground tunnels, homes of well-known authors, and even gives us a glimpse of a secret society that many thought had dissolved years ago.This was such an enjoyable audiobook and I will probably listen to the rest of this series sometime in the future. I can tell that this series is probably a bit more spicy than The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but I find that fun and risque. After listening to this book I know the next time I see a man in a kilt I will be wondering if he is actually wearing underpants! You will have to read this one yourself to know what that means.
cindysprocket on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a delightful read of the people living at 44 Scotland street and all the people that they are involved with. My favorite characters are a very wise 5 year old and a 60 year old woman who seems to love life.
cal8769 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first McCall Smith and I was disappointed in it. I thought the characters were boring and the plot was dull. I was tempted many times to stop reading. The ending was slightly better than I expected. It will be a long time before I can bring myself to try another book of his.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency became popular, it seems like everyone raced out to read all the rest of what Alexander McCall Smith had written. So that probably means I am the last person on the planet to read this first book in the Scotland Street series. Interestingly though, I haven't heard much talk about this series and that's too bad. Because as charming as the Botswana books are, I liked this one even a shade more.This novel has a varied, colorful, and extensive cast of characters populating its pages and the reader gets to know each and every one of them as individual characters. Most of the characters live at 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh. Pat is having her second gap year because of vaguely alluded to circumstances. She moves into a flat with Bruce, a good looking but rather narcissistic, somewhat lazy young man. Neighbor Domenica, a widowed former academic becomes friends with Pat. Five year old genius Bertie lives with his domineering mother and father in the building as well. As the lives of these tenants, and a few outside characters, intertwine, the reader is treated to mundane lives and events written in a most delightful and engaging way. Unrequited love, failed set-ups, therapy, and misunderstandings abound in the daily lives of our characters. But far from being boringly domestic, this gives the book a comfortable and familiar and pleasing feel.I thoroughly enjoyed my time at 44 Scotland Street and hopped right out to make sure I had all the subsequent books in the series because I am curious to see where the vagaries of fate will take our characters next. And I fully expect to be introduced to the people alluded to but missing from this installment. There is a serial feel to the book itself so there are natural stopping places throughout if you find yourself enchanted by this one too late at night as I did. The characters are all very complete in themselves, feeling as if they could be your very own next door neighbors. And the descriptions of Edinburgh are intriguing and wonderful. This book and the city it represents are both wonderful to visit (although I think I'd stay out of the old train tunnels given my slight claustrophobia, thanks) and I look forward to future visits to Scotland Street.
frank_oconnor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a Scottish version of 'Tales of the City', which basically means less sex and more rain. The writing is well polished and POV is handled well. The characters are interesting, on the whole, especially the older ones. The paths of desire, love, truth and lies are nicely explored and the book is occasionally very illuminating on these. Not everything is wrapped up nicely, of course, as room is left for the next installment. While I couldn't escape a certain sense of condescension by the end of this installment, the 'page turn' factor is strong enough that I would probably read another one.
ethelmertz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it! I laughed out loud several times. The characters in this book are entertaining and surprising. Like after reading most of McCall Smith's books, I felt better about the world and the people in it when I finished.
jennyo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ah, lovely. A very entertaining book. The chapters were initially serialized in The Scotsman. I can just imagine how much fun it was to look for the daily update to this story. As it was, I sat down and read it pretty much cover to cover in the space of 24 hours.I laughed out loud several times, and I wanted to hug poor little Bertie.This is a perfect summer or weekend read.
herbcat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a neat collection of stories about the people who shared the rental of 44 Scotland Street in Edinborough and their connections, friends, and neighbors. The subjects range from the gap year of a young woman and her job in an art gallery to a handsome but conceited young man, to an elderly rich woman making a life among artists and intellectuals, to the education of a somewhat gifted child and the foolishness of his parents' ideas for child rearing. There is also a small cast of interesting background characters who have memorable stories that further reveal the human condition. It is quite a good character study, and Smith wrote it well. Sentences flow, and there are no unnecessary details. Although not really exciting, I can hardly wait to read more.