Pianos and Flowers

Pianos and Flowers

Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind

Book - 2019
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A delightful collection of stories and photographs from the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, imagining the lives and loves of everyday people in the twentieth century

Pictures capture moments in time, presenting the viewer with a window into another life. But a picture can go only so far. Who are the people in the image? What are their fears? What are their dreams?

The fourteen captivating tales in this collection are all inspired by photos from the Times of London archive. A young woman finds unexpected love while perusing Egyptian antiquities. A family is forever fractured when war comes to Penang, in colonial Malaysia. Iron Jelloid tablets help to reveal a young man's inner strength. And twin sisters discover that it's never too late to forge a new path--even when standing at the altar.

There are big stories behind these simple images. Though at first glance they may appear to represent small moments, these photographs in fact speak volumes, uncovering possibilities of love, friendship, and happiness. With his indomitable charm, Alexander McCall Smith takes us behind the lens to explore the hidden lives of those photographed; in so doing, he reveals the humanity in us all.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2019]
Edition: First United States edition.
ISBN: 9780593315750
0593315758
Branch Call Number: FICTION MCCALLSMITH
Characteristics: ix, 179 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Pictures capture moments in time, presenting the viewer with a window into another life. But a picture can go only so far. Who are the people in the image? What are their fears? What are their dreams? In the fourteen delightful tales in this collection, Alexander McCall Smith imagines the lives a... Read More »


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1
1_Great_Book
Mar 15, 2021

interesting concept - a good experience in creativity. I found the grainy, black and white photos difficult to scrutinize - they were very small on the pages. I would have enjoyed larger life photos - and ones from a more current time period. These were very old photographs.

g
granny3
Mar 05, 2021

While the idea behind the stories--making up past and future lives from old photographs--is admirable, the stories themselves are rather mundane, not up to the level of plots about Mma. Ramotswe and Bertie.

s
SJZB2020
Feb 20, 2021

Re: LARGE PRINT EDITION

Master storyteller Alexander McCall Smith weaves tales from photographs and they are delightful. The only issue I have is that with the large print edition the photographs are very difficult to see.

g
genepy
Feb 18, 2021

Charming, light and comforting . Those short stories remind me of dear Maeve Binchy's .
To be enjoyed in a quiet place , with a nice cup of tea and a delicious scone.

t
tjdickey
Feb 06, 2021

What a delightful collection! Take a series of snapshots, and weave a complete human drama into each, and let it be told by an author whose wit and warmth of observation for all of the twists of human emotions and relationships has become legend...

m
maipenrai
Jan 23, 2021

Alexander McCall Smith was given a series of old photographs and asked to write a set of stories around each picture for a newspaper serialization. His mind is so creative. I was pleased to find some of the stories were set during WII. Very enjoyable. Kristi & Abby Tabby

m
maipenrai
Jan 23, 2021

Alexander McCall Smith was given a series of old photographs and asked to write a set of stories around each picture for a newspaper serialization. His mind is so creative. I was pleased to find some of the stories were set during WII. Very enjoyable. Kristi & Abby Tabby

b
brangwinn
Jan 19, 2021

Do not approach this call Smith book like you do others. This isn’t the sunshiny optimistic books we’re used to from him. Read with an open mind. He’s created short stories based on newspaper photos. Readers will find themselves making personal connections with some, and others with not much relevance. This would be a book best read in paper version. Readers will want to flip back and forth to the photographs as they read the stories.

d
darladoodles
Jan 06, 2021

The premise for this book: take a photo from The Sunday Times archives and write a story about it. Pick up another photograph and repeat. 14 times. Each story is full of details like education, occupations, and even future or past family information. If I had not read the Author's Note I would have thought Alexander McCall Smith actually was reporting on the photos. Many have a delightful twist at the end. Some of my favorites: Pianos and Flowers, Sphinx, Duty, Iron Jelloids, St. John's Wort, and Blackmail. If you are a fan of Alexander McCall Smith I do think you will appreciate this collection.

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