To Botswana and Back: A Review

Book Title: The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Book 4)
Author: Alexander McCall Smith

the kalahari typing school for men

The book is unlike the usual detective story as it delves more about how life in Botswana was rather than the cases the lady detectives had to resolve (although when it finally tackled that, the reader is given insight as to how a perceptive and intelligent woman like Mma. Ramotswe solves cases in style). McCall Smith’s prose started out nice and proceeded without a hitch.  The characters’ names and quirks added to the story’s authenticity and uniqueness. Mma. Ramotswe, Mma. Makutsi, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and other notable characters  stay on with you even after you’ve closed the book. I appreciated how the quiet intelligent humor illustrated depicts the author’s understanding of life in Botswana and of its people.

Some parts that stood out or made me laugh:

Mma. Precious Ramotswe
There was no real need for Mma. Makutsi to feel like this. If you went through life thinking, I’m just a local girl from somewhere out in the bush, what was the point of making any effort? We all had to come from somewhere, and mos tof us came from somewhere not particularly impressive. Even if you were born in Gaborone, you had to come from a particular house in Gaborone, and ultimately that meant that you came from just a small patch of the earth; and that was no different from any other patch of the earth anywhere else. (p. 14, par. 5, lines 4 & 10-17)

Babies were conceived here, too, especially on Saturday evenings, and Mma. Ramotswe had often thought that at least some of the children whome she saw playing games there had been drawn back by some strange homing instinct to revisit the place where they had started out. (p. 35, 1st par., line 9)

Would Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni get round to naming a wedding date before then? She hoped so, although he certainly seemed to be taking his time. Perhaps they could get married in heaven, if he left it too late. That would certainly be cheaper. (p. 106, cont. from last page, line 17)

The younger apprentice (when the machine controlling the ramp malfunctioned)
He paused. “But there is something we can do.”
“Oh yes,” said the older apprentice, mocking him. “Pray?”
“Yes,” the younger one said as he slid off the oil drum and went down on his knees. “Oh Lord,” he said. “Release this car,” adding, “please”.
Suddenly there was a hissing sound. They looked up, both surprised. The trapped air in the hydraulic system was clearing allowing the column and its burden to descend gracefully towards the ground. (p. 119, last 5 paragraphs)

But of course, my reading experience was only enhanced by the explanation of essential words like Mma. and the like and their uses in Botswana.
I like this book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

This is my first book review on this blog. Will set up rating system next time. 🙂


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