I am a fan of Alexander McCall Smith. I am woefully behind in the Mma Ramotswe books, but my aunt gives me a copy of the new book when it appears. One year, she gifted me with one of his rare standalone books, and I just got around to tackling it as one of the last in my read-the-books-on-my-shelf project, which will end in early 2018, when I finally read the rest of the Mma books in my stack. I had heard mixed reviews of La’s Orchestra Saves the World, but I was eager to try it out for myself.
La (short for Lavender) Stone is at loose ends. At the end of a disastrous marriage, she finds herself with a bit of money and a house in the country. She determines to settle in and find a new place for herself. Just as she gets comfortable, World War II starts up, and she determines to make a difference in the world. But can you make a difference growing vegetables and starting a village orchestra with the military officers based there? (If you’ve read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, you know what the answer is)
Smith excels in celebrations of the ordinary and meek, and this book is no different. I find his style comforting to return to in times of need, and 2017 has absolutely been a time of need. La is an engaging heroine, and her adventures were just what I needed to read during finals week and many anxieties over the tax vote.
Cross-posted to my blog.