Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Stellar Debut of Galactica Macfee - 44 Scotland Street #17

The Stellar Debut of Galactica Macfee is the 17th 44 Scotland Street novel by Alexander McCall Smith. Released 14th May 2024 by Hachette on their Abacus imprint, it's 272 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. Library binding format due out in Aug 2024 from the same publisher. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links.

This is such a gently written, slow, introspective series. It's an ensemble cast of quirky and (mostly) appealing oddballs and the books more or less revolve around their lives and experiences and the lives of the people in their orbits who live at 44 Scotland Street, and others who live in the village and/or colleagues. The narrative moves along quite slowly and the overall effect is of a long and unhurried visit with old friends.

It's not necessary to have read the books in order, however, the large changes which occur (marriage, children, etc) will be obvious if they're read out of order. It's such a long running series at this point that the characters really live and breathe.

Especially with the desperate struggles, illnesses, upheavals, and sadness which seem universal in the world right now, this series and these characters are a balm to the soul. It's full of music, food, humor, and Scottish sensibility. Wonderful.

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 8 hours, 24 minutes and is beautifully read by Robert Ian Mackenzie. He has a cultured, smooth baritone and does a wonderful job with the disparate accents of the characters of both sexes and a range of ages. Sound and production quality are very high throughout the read.

“Bertie wanted only that people should be kind to one another; but they never were. That was not the way the world was, and sometimes, as he thought about it, his small soul, composed as it was of pure goodness, felt overwhelmed by the nature of the world in which he was obliged to live.”
Five stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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