Pianos and Flowers

Pianos and Flowers

Brief Encounters of the Romantic Kind

Book - 2020 | First United States edition
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"In Pianos and Flowers we are invited, through the medium of sepia images, to glimpse a world long departed. In these stories, inspired by long-lost photographs, the lives of the people in the frame are imagined and then explored, layer by layer. What must have it like to be them? We hold our breath for them. Our heart beats faster for them. We look again at the photograph in a new light, and say Yes, it might have happened just like that. This journey of exploration takes us to some exotic places. We share the lives of three sisters, brought up in Penang. We read of what happened to them, and to their Chinese neighbors caught in the tides of war. We see a group of small boys in a Glasgow slum, their young lives stunted by poverty, and hear how life worked out in contrasting ways for them. We follow a young woman's search for love in the unlikely realm of Egyptian antiquities. And through all of these photographs, and all of these stories, there runs the same refrain: the possibilities of love, of friendship, of happiness lie before us. There are big stories in these simple pictures. At first glance the photographs may seem unexceptional: the mere freezing of a moment in time. But delve deeper and you will realize that these photographs speak volumes"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2020]
Edition: First United States edition
Copyright Date: ♭2019
ISBN: 9780593315750
Characteristics: ix, 179 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm


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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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