Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Distant View of Everything by Alexander McCall Smith

A Distant View of Everything: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel by Alexander McCall Smith --- 240 pages

The eleventh novel in this gentle series. Isabel and Jamie have a new baby, Magnus. They are amused and mildly dismayed by the distinct lack of enthusiasm displayed by four-year-old brother Charlie. “Don’t need a baby,” Charlie says, and suggests several ways to dispose of the interloper.

Nonetheless, Isabel can still find time to edit her "Review of Applied Ethics," fill in at her niece Cat's delicatessen,  and help out an old friend who fears her matchmaking efforts may have backfired this time. Nothing much ever really happens in this series. The minimal plot is there to provide opportunities for Isabel to engage in conversations and ponder ethical dilemmas. After all, Isabel is a philosopher, so what could be more natural? She at least acknowledges that hers is a privileged existence. In one episode in this book, she actually comes up against (briefly) the unprivileged reality of ordinary life and finds herself out of her depth. Sadly but predictably, she retreats. I'm not sure what Isabel would do if she faced a serious, imminent moral dilemma with no easy resolution.

 This is not a real mystery novel, with a crime, and lots of false clues and misleading actions that need to be sorted out. But if you want to escape to a pocket utopia where you too can while away a few hours in the best of all possible worlds, Isabel will be happy to oblige.

Click HERE to read the review from Kirkus Reviews.

Click HERE to read the review from blog.

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