Chance Developments

Chance Developments

Stories

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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"While gathering material for a photography book about Edinburgh, Alexander McCall Smith found himself inspired to create stories about the people captured in a number of particularly striking photos. A smiling girl leading a younger girl astride a pony, and a boy in a kilt on a tricycle beside them, gives rise to a story of a lifelong romance between the two riders. A dapper, roguish-looking man perching on a lady's knee sparks the story of a ventriloquist and an animal handler who work in a circus, and who, under the most delightfully unexpected circumstances, fall in love. The image of a woman haloed by light in a train station becomes the lighthearted tale of a nun's decision to leave the sisterhood and discover what the big city has to offer. Charming and poignant, this collection is brimming with the flourishes of grace and humor that could only come from the pen of Alexander McCall Smith"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2015]
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9781101871256
Characteristics: x, 240 pages : illustrations ; 18 cm

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Peggy99900
Mar 15, 2017

This book contains a number of short stories. All of the stories are wonderfully written BUT everyone of them ends so abruptly and it's as though the story has no ending. I did not enjoy the way the stories were finished.

AnnabelleLee27 Feb 03, 2017

Using old photographs for inspiration, McCall Smith offers 5 short stories exploring themes of love and connection. While the stories are unassuming and often surprisingly moving, their brevity may be what lessens their overall impact. I especially liked the final story (He Wanted to Belief in Tenderness) which I thought had more staying power than the others. A quick and easy read.

1
1_Great_Book
Jan 05, 2017

So so. There have been more recent whole novels developed around collections of old photographs (Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar Children at top of my list) that are much more spectacular. Short stories just don't cut it for me in the use of old photographs.

McCall Smith's talent lies in expressing ideas through well-known characters interacting over a period of time, either in lengthier novels or in short stories or instalments. What's missing in these stories is his characteristic conveyance of some kind of idea, issue or opinion, often with a moral or philosophical slant, through people interacting with each other over time and in a relationship. Behaviour is studied or observed. These short cliches are lacking the depth that is the essence of McCall Smith's best writing.

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abookandacuppa
Jul 31, 2016

Based upon random photographs from other eras, Alexander McCall Smith has created 5 short stories. Each story is quaint, descriptive, and thought-provoking in the manner which Smith encourages the reader to consider relationships.

In the author's note, AMS approaches the topic of the transformation of love. He also quotes Auden, one of his favorite poets, in regarding a preference to be the "more loving one" when discussing reciprocated love.

In any of Smith's books, it is apparent that he has a love for people. His ability to convey this message in an intelligent, yet unassuming manner is one of the many reasons he is one of my favorite authors.

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IMJ1932
Jul 27, 2016

I enjoyed these short stories. I like the first 3 more than the last one. I will look more intently at black and white photos of people I don't know!

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genepy
Jul 24, 2016

Four delightful short stories with endearing characters teaching us kindness, tolerance and the wisdom of life . After reading this book one will not be able to look at an old black and white photograph again without wandering about the story behind it. Mr McCall Smith proves again that he is one of the greatest storyteller of our times .

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