It is not academic intelligence so much as it is the intelligence of intuition, a way of knowing about and getting around in the world. McCall Smith's background in philosophy and bioethics may have something to do with the development of his characters and through them, the plot of his books.
This book is a fast, pleasant read. Reading it won't teach you anything about changing the world, except maybe the truth in the last sentence, a thought of Kay as she leaves the train: "Loving others How I do with we could use half stars because this is a 4. I am a massive fan of Alexander McCall Smith's work. One of the things I love about him is ability to jump from series to series and give to each a unique voice. And so it is with Trains and Lovers. The voice is different, the feel is different and the flavour is different. I took this in to hospital with me when undergoing a ga How I do with we could use half stars because this is a 4.
I took this in to hospital with me when undergoing a gallbladder removal. It was the last thing in my hand as I left the ward and it was the first thing I asked for when I reentered it three hours later. I read it in one day and loved every moment. Four strangers meet on a train and start up a conversation.
Trains and Lovers
The topic turns to love and each offers their own experience of it, either to the group or within themselves. A beautiful work that celebrates true love, how it is obtained and how it is kept. Oh, and one aspect I really enjoyed was the story set in Western Australia. As a Perth girl who has spent time in the Wheat Belt, the East Kimberley and the Pilbara, I found the setting and circumstances offered to be spot on, a slice of reality of how it lives in our harsh West Jul 11, Kathy rated it it was amazing Shelves: scotland , england , great-titles , highly-recommend , favorites , trains.
Trains and Lovers. What a lovely title and what a lovely book. For many, if not most, people trains have a romantic allure, of chance meetings and adventure. Alexander McCall Smith has used such a setting to gather four strangers together to reminisce about and ponder the vagaries of love in conjunction to other train rides or encounters with trains. As the wheels glide forward from Edinburgh to London, these four people will allow themselves to also flow into a rhythm of ease with one another, Trains and Lovers.
As the wheels glide forward from Edinburgh to London, these four people will allow themselves to also flow into a rhythm of ease with one another, telling of important moments and people in their lives, lives that were in some way touched by love. A young Scotsman on his way to a job in London, a young Englishman returning to London, a middle-aged American man with a sentimental attachment to Scotland on his way back to the states, and a lone woman from Australia with Scottish roots.
Each of these people experience a cathartic release in sharing their stories, and there is indeed a train connection in each. Although the author in his brief and marvelous introduction before the strangers appear on stage says that "love is nothing out of the ordinary," the love revealed in the strangers' stories exposes the insincerity of that statement. It is ordinary in that anyone can experience it, but its effect is anything but ordinary.
Me thinks the author dost play with us a bit here. There is much wit and clever linking in and between the stories. One line, "so missing a train can have major consequences" has a place in two different stories in two different ways. Another favorite quote that sums up one of the stories is, "In the heart of each of us there can be many rooms, and somethimes there are. Alexander McCall Smith has given his readers a gift of love in the guise of a plain, simple account of four strangers on a train. Jan 10, Bobby Title rated it it was amazing. This is what I would call a lovely, lovely book.
I only knew of the author by his lady detective series, which are such a delight, and his Isabel Dalhousie series, which I'm not crazy about. So I really didn't have any expectations for this book. I simply saw it listed in a catalog and decided I'd better see what he has to say here. It was my lucky day! His characters -- all 4 of them -- and nice people, a seeming rarity in books any more. There is no plot to speak of: 4 passengers on a train, un This is what I would call a lovely, lovely book. There is no plot to speak of: 4 passengers on a train, unknown to each other, and their conversations.
Each one has a story; three stories are told and one remains in the passenger's thoughts. When the end of the trip comes, the story ends, but the feeling of the reader don't. There is lots to think about here, and I found parallels in my own life that I could relate to, and cogitate on. I also have a lingering unresolved question about David and Bruce and the author's movement of those two. I love any book that keeps me thinking, and this is one of them.
Good but not great. I enjoyed the Australian section but never really got into the others' stories. Much prefer McCall Smith's other series. Apr 11, Book Concierge rated it liked it Shelves: relationships , scotland , audio , concierge , library. I love the way he puts together an ensemble of characters and slowly reveals their everyday lives and the little and big dramas hidden in plain sight.
In this novel — not part of any series — four strangers meet on a train bound for London from Edinburgh. As they get acquainted their stories come out. David, a middle-aged American businessman, sees two men saying good-bye at the station, and is reminded of the young man he met in his own youth.
Kay relates how her parents met, married and ran a train station in the Australian Outback. Hugh missed his stop one day on the train, and met a woman he let into his life. Each story offers some insight into the many ways that love finds us, enriches us, or disappoints us. For some of these characters the love is in the past, for others it shows promise of continuing into the future. The audio book is masterfully performed by Robert Ian MacKenzie.
He has clear diction, a good pace and is a skilled voice artist, able to differentiate the many characters. May 05, Ruth rated it really liked it. Alexander McCall Smith is known for gentle humour and a light touch, and he shows a great fondness for humanity, occasionally slipping over into sentimentality. One suspends judgement on that, however, because he takes you on a very pleasant journey. This book was definitely an antidote to the last book I reviewed, which takes a very dim view of humanity Gone Girl.
This book slides along on the well-oiled wheels of clarity of sentence and phrase, understatement, and introspection, as four train Alexander McCall Smith is known for gentle humour and a light touch, and he shows a great fondness for humanity, occasionally slipping over into sentimentality. This book slides along on the well-oiled wheels of clarity of sentence and phrase, understatement, and introspection, as four train passengers converse and, to varying degrees, tell their stories.
There are references to philosophy in there - the examined life and moral luck - for the reader to ponder on, but they are carried lightly. It is a celebration of love, but is not without its sadness as love is shown to expose our ability or failure to trust - one story with humour, one with poignancy. It won't appeal to everyone. All the characters are self-consciously just and well-meaning, although a little abrasiveness threatens in the character of Hugh. Do there really exist persons so civilised?
Probably not; but it's so nice to hope. Part of the formula, and why it can work, is the 'strangers on a train' situation not like Hitchcock's!
The characters tell their stories in the vacuum of the journey, in a moment of reflection away from the bustle. It's well worth taking a seat in their carriage. Oct 07, Will Ansbacher rated it liked it. Well, it seems that Alexander McCall Smith has redeemed himself. After The 2 Pillars of Wisdom , three stories of such stupefying tedium that I would have willingly gnawed off my page-turning hand rather than read the whole thing, I was afraid to pick up anything by him again.
However, this is not at all bad: four strangers on an Edinburgh to London train share their stories and memories of love and love affairs. One young man who met his through his first job; another through a chance encounte Well, it seems that Alexander McCall Smith has redeemed himself. You could read this during the journey itself, a pleasant way to pass the time if there was nobody to talk to.
View all 4 comments. Jul 13, Correen rated it really liked it. McCall Smith seems to be writing books that explain his philosophical ideas more than his wit and storytelling. He concerns himself with the moral dilemmas in life -- usually not the major ones but rather those that happen in our day-to-day encounters with other persons. In this book he presents a construct he calls "moral luck" but he does not clearly integrate it into the stories. Trains and Lovers is a book of four stories combined through a train ride. While each of the four riders present a McCall Smith seems to be writing books that explain his philosophical ideas more than his wit and storytelling.
While each of the four riders present a story, each weighs what is important to tell and how their story will be received by the other three. The stories cover topics of love, home and family, personal striving, and their questions and doubts. The setting for the book is a moment in time in an isolated space allowing the author to place the individual stories anywhere in the world and with few time constraints. The book started slowly -- I had moments of thinking I did not want to continue reading.
Review of Trains & Lovers: The Heart’s Journey by Alexander McCall-Smith
Gradually, however, my interest in the characters increased and I enjoyed the writing. I started this book while on a train myself and I definitely wish that I had carried on reading it on the train just to be absorbed into the experience further. The story follows 4 strangers on a train come together to share their experiences of love.
I really loved this plot idea and the way that it was written with segments on the train and then sections which are focused on the specific memory of the person. This writing style kept the story following and continually interesting to read. I al I started this book while on a train myself and I definitely wish that I had carried on reading it on the train just to be absorbed into the experience further.
I also liked the contrasting opinions of the characters and how they perceive love but also from who they think of instantly when they think of love, with one person having their own experience and another thinking about their parents. I thought this was really interesting and made each character really unique.
Alexander McCall Smith
It was a really well written and descriptive novel and this made it a really enjoyable and fairly light read. Definitely one to be read on a train! Jul 05, Penny McGill rated it it was amazing Shelves: book-club-favourites. Another wonderful story by Alexander McCall Smith. He is always writing a new wrinkle into humanity each book and how he is able to do this just amazes me - his characters never seem to repeat.
This book is a story of four people who are riding a train together and begin to share bits of their lives. I love that McCall Smith is able to share the back story of each person and then also add in their doubts and assumptions about the other three seated in the spots beside and across from them. He has such crazy insight into a person's worries and insecurities but he writes it all in a gentle and very funny way. It's as if each word is carefully weighted in the sentences he writes, nothing extra or frilly.
I think that, with publishing a book like this, he must have characters and books just swimming around in his head all the time and has to write them down. The people he populates his series with - like Isabel and Precious - must be like constant companions for him and then something like this pops up perhaps on a train journey or after hearing of one and he has to put it all down just to clear his head for the next one.
He doesn't include a pile of descriptive text in his paragraphs and yet I always feel like I am in the same place as his characters - every time! I enjoy that a book written by Alexander McCall Smith is like reading someone's journal with a little bit of extra detail about the setting thrown in, these people have things going on in their lives that are embarrassing or joyful, so the reader gets to feel a part of it.
Like a movie, really. I understand that there are library patrons out there that are not fond of Alexander McCall Smith and have heard from some that one or another of his series isn't their favourite but this Trains and Lovers is a good place for a reader to start. Though he doesn't consider her wife material, Tillman agrees to help Rosie on a project of her own: the Father Project, which will lead her to her biological father.
Do they both find what they're looking for? Pick up the book to find out. Lou is a woman who thinks she knows exactly how her life will play out. Meanwhile, Will is recovering from a motorbike accident and has lost his will to live. When the two of them meet, their lives change forever.
You'll have to read it to find out, but keep in mind that this can't-put-it-down book is so absorbing you may just miss your train stop. Persuasion by Jane Austen. This isn't one of Austen's most famous works, but it is one of her most beloved by readers. Because of this, Anne lives for many years with regret and longing for the man she could have married.