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Corduroy Mansions

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Corduroy Mansions Cover

ISBN13: 9780307379085
ISBN10: 0307379086
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. This book was originally published online in serialized chapters. Do you find it flows differently than other novels by Alexander McCall Smith? If so, how?

2. Alexander McCall Smith said of Corduroy Mansions: “These stories are character-based: what interests me is what makes the characters tick rather than intricate and potentially confusing plots.” Pick your favorite character and explain what you think makes him or her tick.

3. Freddie de la Hay is given as much personality as the humans in this story, yet his previous owner only refers to him as a social experiment. What do you think about training a dog to wear a seat belt and be a vegetarian?

4. Which of the characters do you most identify with? Is this also your favorite character?

5. Marcia seems to be manipulating William’s living situation to fit her needs. Is this because she is lonely? Does she have William’s best interest at heart?

6. Eddie is not a positive character in this story. How much of Eddie’s behavior appears to be typical of an early-twenty-something? Are William’s opinions guided too much by Marcia? What is your opinion of Eddie by the end of the book?

7. The problem of the Poussin painting garners different reactions from the characters involved with it. William sees a moral quandary in dealing with his son. Marcia doesn’t even think of the moral implications. What would you do if you were William?

8. Caroline wishes to help James discover the truth behind his proclivities, but she also wants to date him. Do you think Caroline is more self-interested or more altruistic?

9. As Jenny leaves Basil Wickramsinghe’s apartment, she overhears his visitor asking if Jenny is “a sympathiser.” What could this mean? Do you think he is involved in an illegal activity?

10. Jenny works for the odious Oedipus Snark. The MP clearly does not treat her well, nor any other woman with whom he interacts. Why do you think Jenny works for him? Why does Barbara Ragg stay with Snark?

11. Oedipus seems a little too interested in Barbara’s new book. What would he do with the tale of a Yeti? How would public reaction to the announcement of finding a Yeti help his career?

12. Berthea Snark is writing a distinctly non-hagiography of her son. What does this say about her as a mother? Why do you think she’s doing it? Why do you think she named him Oedipus?

13. Terence Moongrove is a bit absentminded. Does his sister, Berthea, overreact to his eccentricities, or is she simply protecting him? What could they learn from each other?

14. Barbara Ragg’s new beau seems too good to be true. Do you trust Hugh? How is your opinion of Hugh influenced by Barbara’s previous poor instincts with men?

15. Many of the characters in this book have feelings of loneliness. Name one and explain what his or her loneliness has driven that person to do. Who finds a way to dispel the feeling, and how is it done?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit: www.readinggroupcenter.com.)

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

dbunting, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by dbunting)
Just wait until you meet Freddie de la Hay!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307379085
Author:
Smith, Alexander Mccall
Publisher:
Pantheon Books
Illustrator:
McIntosh, Iain
Author:
McCall Smith, Alexander
Author:
Smith, Alexander McCall
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Pimlico (London, England)
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Humor : General
Publication Date:
20100731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
, Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.78x6.40x1.27 in. 1.17 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Corduroy Mansions Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Pantheon Books - English 9780307379085 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in present-day London, Smith's charming first in a new series offers a variation on his 44 Scotland Street books, centering on the eccentric occupants of Corduroy Mansions and their offbeat doings. William French, a wine merchant, hopes to force his son, Eddie, who refuses to take his hints about sharing a flat with other 20-somethings, to leave the nest by getting a dog whose presence in their apartment he expects will drive Eddie out. William's neighbors include Dee, who works at a vitamin shop and believes a coworker needs to purge his system of excess sodium, and her roommate, Jenny, who works for an odious MP, Oedipus Snark, who treats Jenny like dirt. Smith paints with broader strokes than in his subtle and often moving No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and no one character is especially memorable, but the wry humor he elicits from the collisions of lives and their repercussions will bring smiles to the faces of many readers. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by , Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteel, crumbling mansion block in London's vibrant Pimlico neighborhood, and the home turf of a new cast of captivating, quirky, and altogether McCall-Smithian characters.
"Synopsis" by , A delightful new setting—London—a wonderful new cast of characters and one incredibly clever dog.

 

Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteel, crumbling mansion block in London’s vibrant Pimlico neighborhood and the home turf of a captivating collection of quirky and altogether McCall-Smithian characters. There’s the middle-aged wine merchant William, who’s trying to convince his reluctant twenty-four-year-old son, Eddie, to leave the nest; and Marcia, the boutique caterer who has her sights set on William. There’s also the (justifiably) much-loathed Member of Parliament Oedipus Snark; his mother, Berthea, who’s writing his biography and hating every minute of it; and his long-suffering girlfriend, Barbara, a literary agent who would like to be his wife (but, then, she’d like to be almost anyone’s wife). There’s the vitamin evangelist, the psychoanalyst, the art student with a puzzling boyfriend and Freddie de la Hay, the Pimlico terrier who insists on wearing a seat belt and is almost certainly the only avowed vegetarian canine in London.

 

Filled with the ins and outs of neighborliness in all its unexpected variations, Corduroy Mansions showcases the life, laughter and humanity that have become the hallmarks of Alexander McCall Smith’s work. 

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