The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
By Alexander McCall Smith
(Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780307739407, 261pp.)
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
List Price: $14.95*
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ISABEL DALHOUSIE - Book 8
Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective. Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small.
In this eighth installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s captivating Isabel Dalhousie series, our irrepressible heroine tries to untangle complex questions about both the past and the present.
Isabel’s new friend Jane Cooper, a visiting Australian philosopher who was adopted as a small child, has come to Edinburgh searching for information about her biological father. Naturally, Isabel is more than happy to offer her services. At the same time, she must find time for her own concerns: her young son Charlie, who’s leaving babyhood further behind each day; her housekeeper Grace, who has recently begun getting financial advice from her spiritualist; her niece Cat, who’s in a new relationship, and the most pressing question of all: when and how Isabel and Jamie will finally get married. As she investigates the forgotten affairs of youth Isabel begins to wonder what those affairs lead to in the present, and in the process she discovers a whole new understanding of the meaning of family.
- Spoiler Alert: Do not read further if you want to discover the plot twists on your own. Cat and Isabel talk about whether they find their occupations worthwhile. Isabel admits that she wonders about it all the time, and Cat says that she does not.“I sell cheese and Italian sausages...I don’t have time to think.Most people don’t.They do what they have to do because they need to eat” (24).How does this exchange point to the differences between aunt and niece?What does it suggest about their approaches to life?