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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, creator of the phenomenally popular No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels and winner of the inaugural Saga Award for Wit, comes the first wonderfully entertaining novel starring Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, distinguished philologist, and frequently inept human. Von Igelfeld is the world's leading scholar on Portuguese irregular verbs, having written a majestic, nearly 1,200 page book on the subject. As one review says, "There is nothing more to be said on this subject. Nothing." But in other matters, von Igelfeld is not nearly so skilled. Whether haplessly playing tennis against an equally dreadful opponent, or committing his friends to swordfighting duels without their knowledge, von Igelfeld is somewhat naive in the ways of the world. Yet that does not stop him from having a go at life, and the results are always humorous.
If you enjoy sharp yet subtle wit, you cannot afford to miss Portuguese Irregular Verbs.
©2003 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By E. Pearson on 12-26-08

A Delightful Read

"Portuguese Irregular Verbs" was refreshing and delightfully funny. The main characters--as some have noted--are not very "loveable" at the outset, but then, they're not supposed to be! They are stuffy German intellectuals, and Smith does a remarkable job of charicaturizing these friends without resorting to flat or ugly stereotypes. Long before I finished the book I'd discovered that they each had a good number of redeemable qualities. Additional nationalities' charicatures are provided, from the dramatically friendly and chaotic Irishman and the tragically serious Indian to the single-minded Italian. I laughed outloud every few paragraphs . . . the stodgy and absent-minded, socially inept academics filled me with a desire for a long visit with some of my European friends. The narration is fantastic--probably half the reason the delightfulness of the book came through so well for me. Though so different from the "Ladies Detective Agency" series, "Irregular Verbs" only serves to highlight the author's incredible insight to the admirable and entertaining in the ordinary human character. A wonderful treat.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Clare M on 06-18-05

Perfect match of narrator and content

Alexander McCall Smith's charming, warm, touching little human comedy is perfectly evoked by this narrator. His use of gentle accents and perfect inflection makes me believe it is better to be read to than to read it on my own. At least with this narrator!

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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