Having just completed the reading of three books which meant nothing, and which irritated and which annoyed me, I was thankful that ‘The Sunday Philosophy Club’ had arrived at the top of my reading list.
It is the story of Isabel, who lives in genteel comfort with her daily housekeeper Grace. Isabel experiences the unfortunate falling of a young man from the top tier of a concert hall. When the young man dies, she can’t help wanting to know more, given that she was likely the last person to have eye contact with him before he hit the ground.
The book’s name comes about because Isabel is editor of a philosophy journal, and the book regularly refers to the ‘Sunday Philosophy Club’. As in ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ snippets of everyday life are interspersed with philosophical considerations and wonderings, both academic and everyday. We also get inside the head of Isabel. She’s intense, interesting and popular, but harbours a secret crush on her niece’s ex-boyfriend.
Having been encouraged to read quite a few of Alexander McCall-Smith’s other works, I came to this book with a preconceived idea of what TSPC might offer.
In general, I was pleasantly surprised. There were inevitably a few issues – for example, where the writing indicates the POV of more than one character. It is something I’ve worked hard to remove from my writing, so am ultra-aware.
But, as a philosophy graduate and a fan of music-related writing, a book featuring not only a philosopher but also a musician meant I was happy to continue reading this enjoyable and relaxing book. Though there was no real depth, no real character development, and no real plot, I did enjoy reading this rambling, ambling thought process and musings on everyday events.
It’s been a few years since I read a McCall-Smith book. I think I’ll read some more.
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