There’s fuel enough for several novels in this installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series, with a young married couple seeking a larger home, an older unmarried couple seeking commitment, the joys of Italian art and countryside, and, of course, the little boy who isn’t yet seven but knows the world will change one day. The author weaves his stories together with swift scene and chapter changes, leaving one set characters hanging, or falling, while another takes the stage and runs with it. Through it all, an omniscient narrator invites the reader to experience the world through many different eyes—even those of a dog—and in doing so to notice what we ignore, remember what we forget to recognize, and just perhaps become a little kinder to each other. Good-humored, fun, filled with the real and the strange, The Importance of Being Seven brings Scotland’s houses, streets and countryside to life, offers insights into the schooling system over cups of tea and plates of biscuits, and even invites the frozen reader to enjoy the warmth of a glorious Italian sun. The narrator’s constantly pleasing voice holds disparate stories together, and a book that’s easy to pick up after putting down (because of its well-separated chapters) proves seriously hard to put down (because it’s just such a smooth, well-measured, good read). Enjoy.
Disclosure: A friend loaned me the book, but I’m sure I’ll buy my own copy one day.
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more