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Heavenly Date

3.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,265 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
In these hilarious stories of perverse meetings, casual dates, and romantic encounters, we are enthralled, saddened, inspired, and surprised by the encounters we're made privy to. Alexander McCall Smith, a master of the unexpected and a seamless storyteller, revels in offering us the quirky complications inherent in entanglements that human beings engineer for themselves-e ...more
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Published December 1st 2007 by Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (first published January 1st 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,160)
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After reading the author's series regarding a villa of reduced circumstances, the finer points of sausage dogs and Portugese irregular verbage, I was excited to read something else by him. This is a book of short stories concerning what else? Dating. The first story met my expectations but the others were just...okay. The titular story was truly weird and disappointing. A review on the book said it was reminiscent of Roald Dahl (I expect the reviewer meant his 'Skin' novel, not Charlie and the C ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Fiona rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
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Despite some slightly out-dated perspectives on gender issues and sexuality (or asexuality, as the case may be), I enjoyed this insightful little collection of short stories centered less around dating, as the title seems to suggest, than the nature of relationships, romantic, platonic and familial, in general. There was a nice international focus, with stories set in Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Australia, and Africa, each with a unique feel for the mood of the city and time period it was set ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Alexander McCall Smith has shown his breadth of talent in crafting characters as different as Precious Ramotswe and Isabel Dalhousie. Here he shows a different, darker side of himself, and some of the short stories are better than others.

Some -- such as the sweet albeit far-fetched "Wonderful Date" and the darker, more introspective "Bulawayo" -- are wonderful slices of life. Others, such as "Calwarra" and "Fat Date," are laughably predictable. "Far North" and "Maternal Instinct," while painful,
Dec 20, 2014 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short, 2012-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2012 Wendy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
This collection of short stories based on romantic encounters was neither romantic nor entertaining.

I love The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, so when I saw this book at the used book store, I picked it up right away.

Expecting romantic dates in interesting and exotic locales like the description reads, I was excited to get started. However, after reading the first story I knew I had made a mistake with this one.

The stores themselves didn't make any sense. The characters where strange and as far
Sara Cat
Sep 01, 2011 Sara Cat rated it really liked it
The most interesting thing about this was having read only the Ladies' Detective Agency series, to see that this author has even a mean streak. The short stories are somewhat like Roald Dahl (the ADULT stuff of course), plenty of understated nastiness, irony, people wishing other people ill. It has added a layer of complexity to my "vision" of McCall Smith as a person. If you love the Detective Agency for escapism and gentleness, you might NOT want to read this, as it shows a totally different s ...more
Sep 29, 2013 Alida rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book by Alexander McaCall Smith that I did not love...or even really like. One of the short stories is icky and the other is just plain weird. If this was the first AMS book I ever picked up, I don't think I would have read many more. He does show his amazing insight into the human psyche which we so often see in his other books; he could have been a psychologist. I wonder if, after his world wide success with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, his publisher bundled up a bunch of shor ...more
May 27, 2014 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As big of a fan as I am of McCall Smith, this book was a large disappointment. He normally is very clever, but this book brings out a dark, less feeling side of him. I was really sad. He explores the role of weight in dating, maternal obstacles to a son's romance, the place of analysis in revealing the inner workings of the human psyche, the mundane complexity and long-term effects of choices made and not made in dating, and even the love of angels in the Tuscany countryside. Not exactly my cup ...more
Dec 06, 2008 liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short-story collection! Very interesting, and occasionally moving. Doesn't answer the question, "Why?" It's almost like AMcCS got bored one day and jotted these all down, and then decided to have them published, and could, because he's, y'know, AMcCS. The title I think is a little misleading; the overall theme has more to do with examining relationships than flirting or dating, although each story does involve a date of one sort or another. Of course, I tend not to really enjoy short story col ...more
Sep 23, 2014 Kirstin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not a big fan of short stories. Too often they are strange, depressing and/or unsatisfying but I love Alexander McCall Smith so I thought I would give this collection a try. Sadly I found it to be no exception. There were a couple of stories I really liked and a couple of stories I really hated but mostly they were strange, depressing or unsatisfying.
Nika Bochstein
Jul 19, 2016 Nika Bochstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have only read one other book by Alexander McCall Smith: 44 Scotland Street, and it was alright: readable, entertaining but nothing to write home about. I gave it 2 stars.

By contrast, this collection of short stories shows him to be a serious, thoughtful writer, not just a commercially successful one. A very different voice, finesse, depth.

This might be the reason for the relatively low stars: people who know him from his serialized novels may not be very receptive to his lovely, quiet, kind b
Sep 16, 2013 Tuckova rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Inconsistent. Comparisons to Roald Dahl are not wrong, though he lacks the intensity of Dahl, making him both less cruel and less sharply funny. If you draw comfort from knowing you're not the only person who goes on awful awkward dates, perhaps this is your thing. I would have thought that would be a strong enough recommendation, but it is not.
Dec 31, 2014 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can one say about Alexander McCall Smith that hasn't already been said! Outstanding writing. Short stories, of which I love his writing. Specifically about dating and those who are in the throes of finding their soul mates. Some funny, some very sad, but as always a delightful collection of Smith's usual (which means best!)
Jun 10, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories show a much broader range in Smith than most of his books I've read. It's still got the same style and some seem more of slices than stories, but still different from the wiener dog books or the ladies detective agency books. I had a good time reading.
Saskia Marijke Niehorster-Cook
All the books I have previously read from this author are quite good, and I love his "Ladies # 1 Detective agency" set in Africa!

This book however was an utter disappointment. Whereas before his writing came as quippy and silly but really funny, this book is filled with non traditional "dates" that, except for one, made me groan. They were true clichés, and I was able to "fortell" (NOT guess) the plot and the ending.

The first and only semi-interesting story, "Wonderful Date" takes place in Gene
Sep 11, 2010 Gill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like La's Orchestra this collection of short stories is out of the expected genre for AMS, but then he has continually delighted by taking new directions in his writing, whilst retaining the subtlety and depth of insight he has into the human condition and character. There is a great breadth of character and subject matter here, linked very loosely by the title, each story is a vignette encapsulating a place, a time, a type of person. Some will appeal more than others, but all show the range an ...more
I truly am so repulsed by the second story in this collection of short stories of what I thought were love & humor that I don't think I want to read on. The first story was lovely. I even re-read the 10 repulsive pages of "Nice Little Date", thinking I missed something clever in the writing. Even if this story is saying 'something', what? why then put it this book?

Written 1995, before AMS became famous with 'No 1 Ladies Det Agency' series.
Oct 11, 2014 Lynne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a departure from McCall Smith's usual style. From the title, I was anticipating a collection of gently heart-warming romances, but these are all quite quirky and some have a considerable bite. This isn't a criticism, in fact I enjoyed the contrast to his other works, but I do think his writing works better in the novel form rather than the short story.
Rupert Matthews
A very odd selection of short stories. Most were pretty good, but one got so boring I simply gave up. Obviously these are aimed mostly at the ladies, but they are still pretty good. I don't think I would have bothered buying it, but since my wife left it lying around and I was off on a long train journey it did the business to pass the time of day.
Jul 14, 2015 Diana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Horribly disappointing! To be fair, there are nine short stories, but I only read five. The first story had all of the elements that McCall Smith is known for - wit, humor, philosophy. The following stories were twisted with human depravity, sexual psychosis, and the sickness of "real life"
Sep 01, 2014 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book of short stories can often be up and down, and I feel that was the case here. The weakest was probably the titular and final story, "Heavenly Date", which seemed to have no real conflict and ended oddly. Most of these stories end a bit abruptly, but several are enjoyable.
Jan 24, 2016 Barbara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I struggled to read through the first four stories and then had to take it back to the library. The first story and the but I was not drawn into reading the others. A disappointment after enjoying the #1 Ladies, The 44 Scothland, and Philosophy Club series.
Apr 07, 2014 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The back of the book describes these stories as "hilarious," among other things. I didn't find much humor. The stories are dark and strange, some of which I enjoyed a lot. I much prefer his (lighter)novels, but these are an interesting read.
Heather Rasmussen
i had to skip a whole chapter because it was "yack", but thoroughly enjoyed a few others. this book is a compilation of short stories, some are wierd but i'd say it's worth finding the ones you like (like the first chapter for instance).
May 30, 2015 Danette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith and usually listen to rather than read his books. The narration in this one was good. While I enjoyed most of the stories there were a couple I didn't like as much, therefore I've given it four stars instead of five. The Short Story is not typically my favorite genre.
Jul 05, 2010 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of nine short stories on the themes of dating, the search for romance, and sexual attraction predate the fictional worlds of Botswana, Edinburgh, and elsewhere about which Smith more recently has written. But elements from that later work are here visible along with the emotionally perceptive, intellectually graceful, always charitable prose with which Smith engages the reader. He explores the role of weight in dating, maternal obstacles to a son's romance, the place of analysis ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Bobbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like the author because he's understated. These were a bit too understated for me. They were mildly interesting and mildly droll, but not enough to read more than the first two.
Mar 04, 2016 Kavitha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read several books of McCall Smith, I can say he is one of my favorite authors. This one is a hilarious-saddening bumpy journey into one significant aspect of worldly life. - Dating.
Smith never fails to amaze us with his vast outlook about many different cultures and spices it up with his mild sarcasm. A memorable read!
James Evans
Feb 16, 2016 James Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories about going on dates. It is Alexander McCall Smith at his writing best. These are all little charmers. A real treat to read.
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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
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