Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith

Is there anything funny about German professors? Throughout the world there are small groups of people who know exactly what the joke is. These are the von Igelphiles, the followers of that most extraordinary German professor, Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld.

This book is a series of short stories that based on the experiences of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, who is a professor of philology and author of the impressive tome, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, which given it's size has had a variety of uses, including as a step stool for a dentist. With only 200 copies sold, the professor is constantly on the lookout to see if he can find out who among his learned colleagues and friends actually bought a copy.

As with all Alexander McCall Smith books they are a comedy of manners. For example, how do you address a dog when you have just met it, how exactly do you tell a mother that her son might be radioactive?

I actually listened to this book. The audio book was narrated by Hugh Laurie which I am sure added to my enjoyment completely. Whilst the short stories themselves were amusing, I have no doubt that the comic voices and timing of Laurie added an extra level of enjoyment. I guess I will find out when I read the second book in the series!

Rating: 4/5


  1. Hi Marg, I hoped over to Historical Tapestry to see what you were doing there...great name and good to read some of Kailana's reviews...
    I like the Logo for BWO - never felt the obligation myself but you seem always to have a zillion reviews to write which apears to be only slightly less then the number of books you are currently reading.
    You make a great blog..I always enjoying catching up and sometimes am inspired....had a chuckle at The Red tent reviews...and remembered when...haha

    Great Work!!! Im all for BWYW - Blog when you want!!
    It's me from Fields of Observation, even though my signature has changed..long story....

  2. I noticed you had changed your handle!