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Alexander McCall Smith

Portuguese irregular verbs

Portuguese irregular verbs is Alexander McCall Smith's story of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, a German professor of philology, and of the mishaps he and his colleagues encounter in their lives.

Professor von Igelfeld has written a book - strangely enough with the title Portuguese irregular verbs - but this is a thick tome, the definitive work on the subject. But somehow he never seems to get the credit his work deserves. von Igelfeld and his colleagues lead sheltered lives - when they decide to play tennis their only knowledge of how to play comes from an old book of rules - with predictably amusing results. The last chapter is a strange reflection of Mann's Death in Venice, but I didn't quite see the point of this.

The book is somewhat different to the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series - I felt that that it was more one-dimensional. But that isn't really a criticism, it really depends on what you feel like reading. McCall Smith avoids a descent into farce, which I feel might have been von Igelfeld's fate in the hands of a lesser author. Hence I certainly intend to read more of the von Igelfeld series of books.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 128 pages  
ISBN: 1400077087
Salesrank: 270430
Weight:0.25 lbs
Published: 2004 Anchor
Amazon price $8.94
Marketplace:New from $3.98:Used from $0.01
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 144 pages  
ISBN: 0954407563
Salesrank: 385285
Weight:0.5 lbs
Published: 2003 Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited
Marketplace::Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 128 pages  
ISBN: 0676976794
Salesrank: 56391
Weight:0.3 lbs
Published: 2004 Vintage Canada
Amazon price CDN$ 16.78
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 8.02:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product 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 Portuguese Irregular Verbs, Professor Dr von Igelfeld learns to play tennis, and forces a college chum to enter into a duel that results in a nipped nose. He also takes a field trip to Ireland where he becomes acquainted with the rich world of archaic Irishisms, and he develops an aching infatuation with a Dentist fatale. Along the way, he takes two ill-fated Italian sojourns, the first merely uncomfortable, the second definitely dangerous.

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