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Trains and Lovers

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  3,446 ratings  ·  700 reviews
In the words of Alexander McCall Smith: "You feel the rocking of the train, you hear the sound of its wheels on the rails; you are in the world rather than suspended somewhere above it. And sometimes there are conversations to be had, which is what the overarching story in this collection is all about. It is a simple device: people brought together entertain one another wi ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Polygon Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Bennet
A lovely summer read about being in love. Romantic, intelligent, and just disturbing enough to maintain the interest of those bored by anything too plainly or predictably sentimental. It commences with a train ride from Edinburgh to London, and it is

the story of four people, all strangers to one another, who met on that train, and of how love touched their lives in very different ways. Love is nothing out of the ordinary, even if we think it is; even if we idealise it, celebrate it in poetry, s
...more
Diane
My first encounter with Alexander McCall Smith was The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. It didn't take long for me to get hooked on the adventures, or lack thereof, of Mma. Ramotwse, her assistant, the shoe-loving Mma Grace Makutsi, and her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. I then turned to another McCall Smith series, this one featuring Isabel Dalhousie. When the clerk at Watermark Books suggested I might >Trains and Lovers, the newest McCall Smith book, I grabbed it up.

Like it I did, eve
...more
M
I will of course be recommending this to fans of Alexander McCall Smith, for they would read anything he writes, and rightly so. But Trains and Lovers comes off as a string of narratives harvested from a notebook and tossed onto the train with three men and one woman to tell them. The characters' voices and tones are almost identical, so that by the end of the book I could not remember who told which personal reminiscence. McCall Smith is at his best not only when a character speaks, but when a ...more
Lyn Battersby
How I do with we could use half stars because this is a 4.5 rather than flat four. I am a massive fan of Alexander McCall Smith's work. One of the things I love about him is ability to jump from series to series and give to each a unique voice. The voice of No 1 Ladies Detective Agency is different to 44 Scotland Street and so on.

And so it is with Trains and Lovers. The voice is different, the feel is different and the flavour is different. I took this in to hospital with me when undergoing a ga
...more
Ruth
Alexander McCall Smith is known for gentle humour and a light touch, and he shows a great fondness for humanity, occasionally slipping over into sentimentality. One suspends judgement on that, however, because he takes you on a very pleasant journey. This book was definitely an antidote to the last book I reviewed, which takes a very dim view of humanity (Gone Girl).This book slides along on the well-oiled wheels of clarity of sentence and phrase, understatement, and introspection, as four train ...more
Bobby Title
This is what I would call a lovely, lovely book.

I only knew of the author by his lady detective series, which are such a delight, and his Isabel Dalhousie series, which I'm not crazy about. So I really didn't have any expectations for this book. I simply saw it listed in a catalog and decided I'd better see what he has to say here. It was my lucky day!

His characters -- all 4 of them -- and nice people, a seeming rarity in books any more. There is no plot to speak of: 4 passengers on a train, un
...more
Will
Well, it seems that Alexander McCall Smith has redeemed himself. After The 2 Pillars of Wisdom , three stories of such stupefying tedium that I would have willingly gnawed off my page-turning hand rather than read the whole thing, I was afraid to pick up anything by him again.

However, this is not at all bad: four strangers on an Edinburgh to London train share their stories and memories of love and love affairs. One young man who met his through his first job; another through a chance encounte
...more
Kathy
Trains and Lovers. What a lovely title and what a lovely book. For many, if not most, people trains have a romantic allure, of chance meetings and adventure. Alexander McCall Smith has used such a setting to gather four strangers together to reminisce about and ponder the vagaries of love in conjunction to other train rides or encounters with trains. As the wheels glide forward from Edinburgh to London, these four people will allow themselves to also flow into a rhythm of ease with one another, ...more
Correen
McCall Smith seems to be writing books that explain his philosophical ideas more than his wit and storytelling. He concerns himself with the moral dilemmas in life -- usually not the major ones but rather those that happen in our day-to-day encounters with other persons. In this book he presents a construct he calls "moral luck" but he does not clearly integrate it into the stories.

Trains and Lovers is a book of four stories combined through a train ride. While each of the four riders present a
...more
Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read)
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

So this is my first Alexander McCall Smith book, and I've heard a lot of great things about his other books but they are all series and I wasn't ready to get into a new one. Well after reading this book I think I may need to check out his other books (even though they are series) because his writing is so absorbing and real that you just have to fall in love with the story. Honestly, with this book the cover was the first thing that
...more
Nitya Sivasubramanian
One of my favorite parts of traveling has always been the people I meet along the way. Much to the amusement or chagrin of friends I've travelled with, I'm known to strike up conversations with passengers seated around me, particularly prone to over-sharing and delving deeply into as much of their own lives as they will allow. After all, as Smith points out in this book, who are your passengers but strangers who are likely to disappear in a few hours, never to be met again?

In Trains and Lovers
...more
Heather
This is a nice little stand alone book. It doesn't belong in any of McCall Smith's other wonderful series unless you count the stand alones as a series of stand alones. Sorry!

The story is set on a train journey from Scotland to London and the four travellers, one woman and three men who have never met before, each have a story to relate about love. I enjoyed this book very much, getting to know each character. These stand alone books are quite different from others, there is less speculating on
...more
Penny McGill
Another wonderful story by Alexander McCall Smith. He is always writing a new wrinkle into humanity each book and how he is able to do this just amazes me - his characters never seem to repeat. This book is a story of four people who are riding a train together and begin to share bits of their lives. I love that McCall Smith is able to share the back story of each person and then also add in their doubts and assumptions about the other three seated in the spots beside and across from them. He ha ...more
Wanda
On a train from Edinburgh to London, 4 complete strangers begin to talk and share. Their conversations revolve around love. Andrew talks about his first love while David thinks about his unrequited love. Hugh shares his experience with trust issues with his sweetheart. Kay, the only woman shares her reason for being on the train and that is her love for her parents. At the end of the ride at King's Cross station all the questions are answered and the final outcomes revealed. My best quote comes ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Although the page count won't make it seem novella length, the large print and small pages make this book a breeze, perfect for the last book of 2013!

This is a sweet (too sentimental, possibly?) story of four strangers on a train, traveling from Edinburgh to London, and telling the stories of their lives to each other. One man keeps his story to himself, but the reader gets to read it. It's all about strangers, friends, and love. And maybe at the end of a rough year, it was a nice sendoff.
John Nebauer
McCall Smith's weaves an implausible sharing of four love stories on a train journey from Edinburgh to London into a series of delightful vignettes. There is first love, unrequited love, parental love and love as trust.

Delightful as the work as a whole is, the characters seem to tell their stories with very similar voices. It sounds rather like the author is a fifth person in the carriage reporting to us what he has heard. Kay, the West Australian woman in particular seems not to have her own vo
...more
Mandolin
Four strangers on a train journey with histories and pasts spread across the globe from a seaside town in Maine to the wilds of the Australian Outback: what could they possibly have in common? Love. For isn't that the one thing that touches our lives in some way? In pain, in pleasure, in dreams and in reality, love comes to us all in some form. And, as he always does, Alexander McCall Smith is able to take the stories of this small group of people and use them to hold love up to the light, revea ...more
Susan Johnson
I love the No.1 Ladies Detective Series. Mma Ramotswe is a delight and Botswana comes alive under McCall Smith's pen. I have not been as fond of his other series. This one is no exception. They are really short stories cut and pasted together on the pretense of four peole sharing a train ride. I think Smith's forte is creating a place and I would loved if he had developed the Australian train stop story more. The bit he did share was wonderful and I would have enjoyed that story more.

The other s
...more
Roseamber Sumner
This is an interesting genre, though that might not be quite the right word: a way of looking into various people's thoughts on a journey, on the same subject. In this case the subject is love, fascinating to all readers. Alexander McCall-Smith is on my list of trusted writers. I can't go wrong picking up one of his, though I still suspect him of keeping his manuscripts in the closet pre-written, he is so prolific!

This story is full of hints and beginnings, provocative details that leave you wan
...more
Thomas Shepherd
I think everybody has met at least one person on a train and this is a story of four people who do just that; thrown together by chance and circumstance.

For myself I met Carole on a much-delayed cross-country train as we were both going home for the weekend (from different universities). We talked, made friends, swapped contact details and stayed in in contact. Every year we exchange Christmas cards and news; she has her life and I have mine. A story that uses this has its central conceit is no
...more
Barbara VA
I loved this book! I saw a special with David Suchet on PBS the other evening on The Orient Express. Europeans still travel so much by train, my furthest has only been from DC to New York, too short, but it kept bringing ideas to my head. Taking a cross country of multi country train trip has been a dream of mine for years, watching 1940's movies always made it sound mysterious and exciting. Mr. McCall-Smith is one of my favorites, so easy to read, I feel like we are just chatting, so this was a ...more
Jennifer
Trains and Lovers was a sweet summer read, light and sentimental, and likable. It reminded me of The Canterbury Tales, each story standing on its own, linked only by the shared journey of the tellers. As always, Smith develops his characters gently, their foibles even more than their strengths drawn with a loving pen.

One of the things I love most about Alexander McCall Smith's books is how firmly they are set in a place. I can't imagine Bertie or Matthew or Angus living anyplace other than Edinb
...more
Sarah
Such a gorgeous little book which could easily be consumed in one sitting. It tells the tale of four strangers on the Edinburgh-London rail route, and shares the narration between them as they tell of their tales of life and love. I found myself getting really sucked into each tale and sped through this book far too quickly.

Having done this train route myself several times in the past I wonder where I'm going wrong (!) - my memories of it include sitting next to a very obese man chain-eating fa
...more
Pupottina

Amori in viaggio

La persona giusta al 100%

L’amore è il più bello e, allo stesso tempo, il più complicato dei viaggi che l’essere umano si trova ad affrontare, ma è un immenso peccato non avere la fortuna di incontrarlo, almeno una volta nella vita.
“Amare è ciò che di buono possiamo fare nella vita.”
Ho già apprezzato lo scrittore inglese Alexander McCall Smith, per i suoi gialli ambientati nel Botswana, e in AMORI IN VIAGGIO, abbandonando momentaneamente il genere giallo, percorre un altro filone
...more
David
They say there is a first time for everything, and this is the first time I read a book by this author that did not delight me. I thought, Hey, I love trains, this should be right up my alley. But alas, it was not enough. Don't get me wrong, the book was not bad, but this is an author that has given me so much pleasure, the idea that one of his books could be merely so-so was startling. However, we are all human, and given the number of books he's written, it is kind of amazing how much I have e ...more
Julie
I enjoyed the concept of the book a lot, and I think the author did a good job on how he brought all the characters and their stories together.

Although it read like a short story collection, I wouldn't exactly call it that in the traditional sense, but like with all short story collections, I enjoyed some characters stories over others. All of the stories were incredibly well developed and told, especially considering how short each of the characters stories were. But, despite that, each chara
...more
Patricia
I was very impressed with the quality of Alexander McCall Smith's writing and debated whether or not to give the book 5 stars instead of 4. For anyone who might accuse me of being a fan of Smith's, let me say that I have never read any of his other books. Because I was so absorbed by this novel, I look forward to reading more of his books.

The novel follows a group of four strangers as they take a journey by train from Edinburgh to London. Each of them reminisces about a love affair, whether it
...more
Kate
In a word, CHARMING. A wonderful, cosy little story for a chilly afternoon. Afghan and cup of tea optional.
Trudy
The book tells the stories of four people who meet on a train from Edinburgh to London. There is very little interaction among the four, at least as compared to McCall Smith's other novels, and very little of the individuals thinking about and reacting internally to what the others are saying. The bigger stories are those of Kay, a middle-aged woman from Perth, traveling alone because her husband was on an extended business trip, and Andrew, a young Scottish man in his twenties. Kay's story is m ...more
Austen to Zafón
I usually enjoy his books, but this one was lukewarm at best. First, I could barely tell the narrators apart. They all sounded like McCall Smith telling us about what he thinks of the world and relationships and technology; no distinct personalities. Second, I doubted the premise that 4 people in a train would tell so much about themselves to complete strangers. Maybe one stranger, but not a group. And in the woman's telling of her parents' lives, she told much more than she would probably know ...more
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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“Everything is possible in love. In the heart of each of us there can be many rooms, and sometimes there are.” 3 likes
“...has it ever occurred to people that love at first sight might be the rule rather than the exception? How many people fall in love gradually rather than on the first occasion they meet the other person?” 2 likes
More quotes…