Number 14 in my favorite McCall Smith series featuring Isabel Dalhousie, moral philosopher extraordinaire. While the narrative in these novels feature every day troubles such as family disagreements, child rearing, and interpersonal … irritations, the real story is the deep and well-expressed thoughts they trigger in our editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. The musings of her “tangential mental life” are endlessly intriguing, insightful, and thought provoking. Her brand of philosophy is never dry — it is philosophy as applied to actual human lives.
I love McCall Smith’s writing — it consistently reminds me of the beauty of the English language and embeds new (to me) or rarely used words that I find absolutely stimulating. Well, I never said I wasn’t a weirdo! Two of my favorites from this volume: adumbration and purlieus (if you like words, look them up!)
He always tackles topics of current concern, and no topic is left un-thoroughly discussed. No slogans, no strict identification with any party line. Characters get to examine and evolve their own thoughts and principles (sometimes with a little gentle help) into something that better adapts to their current situation.
I always feel calmer after reading one of these books.
Thank you to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Pantheon and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on July 19th, 2022.