Pianos and Flowers

Pianos and Flowers

Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind

Book - 2020
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"A delightful compendium of short stories inspired by images in the renowned photographic archive of The Sunday Times. A picture can paint a thousand words, but what about a vintage photograph? In 2015 Alexander McCall Smith wrote a book entitled Chance Developments: Unexpected Love Stories, in which he imagined the stories behind five chanced-upon black and white photographs. Who were those people, why were they smiling, what made them sad? He so enjoyed the experience that when The Sunday Times generously offered him access to their early 20th century photograph archive he jumped at the opportunity."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2020.
Copyright Date: ©2019.
ISBN: 9780735281226
Characteristics: ix, 179 pages :,illustrations ;,21 cm.


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Mar 15, 2021

interesting concept - a good experience in creativity. I found the grainy, black and white photos difficult to scrutinize - they were very small on the pages. I would have enjoyed larger life photos - and ones from a more current time period. These were very old photographs.

Mar 05, 2021

While the idea behind the stories--making up past and future lives from old photographs--is admirable, the stories themselves are rather mundane, not up to the level of plots about Mma. Ramotswe and Bertie.

Feb 20, 2021


Master storyteller Alexander McCall Smith weaves tales from photographs and they are delightful. The only issue I have is that with the large print edition the photographs are very difficult to see.

Feb 18, 2021

Charming, light and comforting . Those short stories remind me of dear Maeve Binchy's .
To be enjoyed in a quiet place , with a nice cup of tea and a delicious scone.

Feb 06, 2021

What a delightful collection! Take a series of snapshots, and weave a complete human drama into each, and let it be told by an author whose wit and warmth of observation for all of the twists of human emotions and relationships has become legend...

Jan 23, 2021

Alexander McCall Smith was given a series of old photographs and asked to write a set of stories around each picture for a newspaper serialization. His mind is so creative. I was pleased to find some of the stories were set during WII. Very enjoyable. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Jan 19, 2021

Do not approach this call Smith book like you do others. This isn’t the sunshiny optimistic books we’re used to from him. Read with an open mind. He’s created short stories based on newspaper photos. Readers will find themselves making personal connections with some, and others with not much relevance. This would be a book best read in paper version. Readers will want to flip back and forth to the photographs as they read the stories.

Jan 06, 2021

The premise for this book: take a photo from The Sunday Times archives and write a story about it. Pick up another photograph and repeat. 14 times. Each story is full of details like education, occupations, and even future or past family information. If I had not read the Author's Note I would have thought Alexander McCall Smith actually was reporting on the photos. Many have a delightful twist at the end. Some of my favorites: Pianos and Flowers, Sphinx, Duty, Iron Jelloids, St. John's Wort, and Blackmail. If you are a fan of Alexander McCall Smith I do think you will appreciate this collection.

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