The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth

The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth

3.87 (4,694 ratings by Goodreads)

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The continuing adventures from Isabel Dalhousie, Edinburgh philosopher and curious observer of the behaviour of her fellow man.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 156 x 233 x 22mm | 340g
  • Little, Brown
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Trade Paperback.
  • 1408703408
  • 9781408703403
  • 48,617

Review quote

"Every bit as charming as his No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency."
--Margaret Cannon, "The Globe and Mail"

"Alexander McCall Smith novels never fail to delight...The Forgotten Affairs of Youth [is] no exception, with its gentle humour and philosophical musings."
--"The Guardian"

"Life is full of mystery, and for Alexander McCall Smith even everyday enigmas can provide a compelling challenge for the engaged observer. That same principle holds true in the Isabel Dalhousie series.... Along the way, readers get to soak up the cozy atmosphere of this Scottish university town and McCall Smith's gentle good will.... Soothing."
--"The Boston Globe"

"You needn't be a series-long admirer of Isabel Dalhousie to be beguiled by this curious philosopher and casual sleuth."
--"Publishers Weekly"

"There is plenty of quiet humour and gentle satire in this engaging novel.... Refreshingly upbeat."
--"Otago Daily Times" (New Zealand)

"In its own way, McCall Smith's world is as stylized and hermetic as those created by P.G. Wodehouse or Damon Runyon--a sweet and timeless bubble with its own morality, language and customs. Entering it can be a source of great comfort in these uncertain times."
--"The Seattle Times"

"To say McCall Smith is a literary phenomenon doesn't quite describe what has happened. He has become more of a movement, a worldwide club for the dissemination of gentle wisdom and good cheer. . . . They make a splash of colour in a drab world and provide a genial buffer against the disappointments of life."
--"The Telegraph"
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About Alexander McCall Smith

Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-five languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.
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Rating details

4,694 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 24% (1,124)
4 44% (2,077)
3 28% (1,295)
2 3% (159)
1 1% (39)

Our customer reviews

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth is the 8th of the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith. As always, Isabel's life is full: she has articles to read for the Review if Applied Ethics, an instance of nepotism by Professor Lettuce to deal with, decisions to make about rising journal production costs, and 2½ year-old Charlie has started swearing. Learning of her niece, Cat's latest liaison and wondering how many boyfriends is too many, Isabel mulls over her own forgotten affairs of youth: this segues neatly into the main plot, tracking down the long-lost parents of visiting Australian philosopher and adoptee, Jane Cooper. This time, however, Isabel's "intermeddling" is, surprisingly, encouraged by Jamie, even though he wants her to realise she is not always right. Ultimately, she recognises she has once again done the right thing for the wrong reason. Along the way, we are treated to Isabel's philosophical musings on many diverse subjects: being polite, or saying what you really feel; landscape painters taking artistic licence; the purpose of art; adoption; head lice; which bodily afflictions are too personal to talk about; sarcasm; swearing; wind turbines; jumping to conclusions; religion; children's literature; dogs dreaming; metaphors; how to end arguments and knowing who you are. Cat is her usual superficial, difficult self; Isabel finds herself in the Emergency Department at the hospital; some humorous crossword clues are conceived; Isabel learns more about Professor from his nephew, Max; and, finally, a long-awaited event occurs. My favourite quote is "It's very therapeutic for men to iron. Therapeutic for women, that is." Plenty of gentle philosophy and bon mots like "people seek your advice only to confirm they are doing the right thing". The dialogue between Isabel and Jamie and between Isabel and Grace is a wonderful source of humour: I almost had a coffee accident reading about Max Lettuce. I wonder, each time I start reading another McCall Smith book, if he can keep up the incredibly high standard he has set: so far he has not disappointed more
by Marianne Vincent
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