Unusual Uses for Olive Oil

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil

3.68 (2,424 ratings by Goodreads)
3.68 (2,424 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

Welcome to the insane and rarified world of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology. Von Igelfeld is engaged in a never-ending quest to win the respect he feels certain he is due--a quest which has the tendency to go hilariously astray.

In Unusual Uses for Olive Oil, von Igelfeld experiences a series of new adventures. First, he finds that his academic rival Detlev-Amadeus Unterholzer has been winning undeserved recognition, a situation that must be addressed. Then von Igelfeld stumbles toward a romance with Frau Benz, a charming widow who owns her very own Schloss and a fleet of handsome cars--that is, until a faux pas lands him on the curb. Later, while on the annual student study retreat in the Alps, von Igelfeld fearlessly plunges 3000 feet into mountaineering history, and turns his survival into the subject of inspirational lectures. Finally, at a dinner party, he is the only kind soul who can aid an unfortunate dachshund whose sticky wheels are in need of lubrication.

Alexander McCall Smith's Professor von Igelfeld is his most wonderfully maddening, ridiculous, and utterly inspired comic creation.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 132 x 203 x 16mm | 249g
  • Anchor Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0307279898
  • 9780307279897
  • 558,700

Review quote

"Delightfully silly.... [von Igelfeld is a literary Mr. Magoo." --The Washington Post

"Filled with comic characters, all academics of a particularly stripe. . . . McCall Smith has the same gift that John Mortimer has in making boring conversations hilarious--the atmosphere in the Institute of Romance Philology's coffee room is very like the one-upmanship and backbiting in Horace Rumpole's chambers. Academia can be a hoot, and this series proves it."
--Booklist

"Professor von Igelfeld is a comic gem. . . . McCall Smith skewers the pomposity of academic pretension with an irresistible, deadpan insouciance."
--BlogCritics

Acclaim for the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series

"A comedic jewel... [At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances] attains a level of sublime nonsense reminiscent of Woody Allen's Bananas." --The New York Times

"In the halls of academe, a setting fraught with ego-driven battles for power and prestige [McCall Smith] has rendered yet another one-of-a-kind character: the bumbling but brilliant Dr. Mortiz-Maria von Igelfeld . . . . [a] deftly rendered trilogy [with] endearingly eccentric characters." --Chicago Sun-Times
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About Alexander McCall Smith

ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH is the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Corduroy Mansions series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served with many national and international organizations concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland. Visit his website at www.alexandermccallsmith.com.
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Rating details

2,424 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 21% (519)
4 36% (862)
3 34% (825)
2 7% (178)
1 2% (40)

Our customer reviews

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil is the fourth novel in the 2½ Pillars of Wisdom series by Alexander McCall Smith. Once again we enter the rarefied atmosphere of the Institute of Romance Philology to see what the author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs, the always pedantic and often socially inept Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld is getting up to. Although he is not dissatisfied with his life, his crosses to bear are many: Herr Huber, the boring but loquacious Institute librarian; the condescension of his colleagues regards his unmarried state; the undeserved rise of his rival, Unterholzer; rowdy audiences; loud phone conversations on trains. The Professor finds himself dealing with a possible case of nepotism, anticipating marriage, climbing a mountain, engaged as a motivational speaker and repairing a prosthetic wheel. McCall Smith employs the Professor to muse on many subjects: accepting responsibility for one's actions; keeping confidences; gossip columnists; casual dress; birds used in heraldry; defenestration; the appellation of the wives of academics and writing in code. McCall Smith gives us an entertaining tongue-in-cheek look at the world and demonstrates that wearing moth-eaten clothing can have surprising results. Moritz-Maria's faux pas and naiveté make for many laugh-out-loud moments. A delightful read.show more
by Marianne Vincent
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