My new listening to audiobooks while knitting obsession? … Corduroy Mansions, the serialized digital book by Alexander McCall Smith. I’m late to the party — the first chapter was actually published on September 15th, but it’s better late than never. A new chapter is being published each weekday for 20 weeks, (roughly 100 chapters or so) and he’s now up to 60 or so chapters. You can read each installment online, or download it into your iTunes. I’m not quite caught up to the current chapter yet, but I’m making great progress with my knitting project and enjoying the listening.
I’m sure my brain was primed for the experience of reading a serialized novel by those early years of watching all those movie and TV serials with my brothers. This book is a set of stories that take place in the Pimlico part of London, in a building named Corduroy Mansions. The stories are all about the different residents of that building and neighborhood, so there’s no end to possible ideas for the book! Reading this novel is a very interactive experience, as McCall Smith is also giving his readers a chance to respond and make suggestions for things to add to or change in the story line. I know it also adds to my enjoyment of the listening that the narrator is Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers.
Corduroy Mansions is an unassuming large house in London’s Pimlico, inhabited by an assortment of characters and one dog, writes Alexander McCall Smith.
The date of the building is indeterminate, but there are Arts and Craft features that point to the very late nineteenth century.
It is believed to have been built as an asylum, or possibly a school, or a mansion block.
In fact, nothing is known about the building’s history, although it does feature in a guide to the architecture of Pimlico.
It is described there as “a building of no interest whatsoever”.
The nickname Corduroy Mansions was given in jest by a fashionable person, and stuck.
As always, with McCall Smith’s writing, it is humorous, cheerful, and a fun reminder not to take life so very seriously all the time. No matter how busy my day, or how tired I come home from my school day spent with 7 and 8 year olds, I can listen to an installment, chuckle, knit a couple of rows, and decompress from life’s intensity!
Try it, you’ll like it!
Here’s a video of Alexander McCall Smith introducing his book and the Pimlico neighborhood in which the story takes place: