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Book DetailsISBN: 9781408712788
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Book Review: The Geometry of Holding Hands by Alexander McCall Smith - Reviewed by CloggieA (11 May 2020)
5 stars Isabel recalled the debate. “I think I remember her now. She doesn’t mince her words.” “No,” said Jamie. “She sautés them and they come out pretty hot.”
The Geometry of Holding Hands is the thirteenth book in the Isabel Dalhousie series by Scottish author, Alexander McCall Smith. As a philosopher, Isabel Dalhousie always carefully considers what she says and does, be it a comment, a favour or an investment: the minutiae of everyday life are ripe for philosophical contemplation. Thus topics as diverse as boys in dresses, making fun of unfortunate names, stewardship of land vs profit-based approach, and the morality of inherited assets (investing ethically and using it well are key), are up for deliberation and discussion.
In this instalment of our favourite philosopher’s life: a certain incident in a restaurant results in Isabel being asked by a stranger to be the executor for his estate, which turns out to be much more complicated than she initially had anticipated; a champagne cork accident sees Isabel taking Eddie to the A&E.
Isabel’s niece, Cat, true to form, takes Isabel’s generous nature for granted. Then, Cat’s announcement about her relationship with the self-satisfied Leo leads Jamie to later congratulate Isabel on her breathtaking insincerity. Isabel thinks: “Surely there must be a category of justifiable insincerity, covering those social anodynes that people exchange simply to oil the wheels of daily life.” This is followed by yet more disturbing developments that threaten a major upheaval to the status quo.
Isabel’s thoughts regularly veer off on tangents: “Hers was a particular form of consciousness, she thought: not a stream of consciousness but a meandering, deltoid consciousness, in which memories and speculations—fantasies, even—rubbed shoulders with awareness of the present.”
As usual, Isabel agrees to help when she really should not get involved; as usual, she leaps to conclusions based on the flimsiest of evidence; as usual, Jamie is supportive and understanding and gives good advice; and as usual, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments both in dialogue and deed. Another delightfully entertaining dose of Alexander McCall Smith. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday
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