Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Review: The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith

Even life in slow-paced, traditional Botswana, with its red bush tea and pithy profound wisdom, holds surprises and new adventures.  In The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni agonizes over a difficult decision.  Business at the garage has slowed down and he can only afford to keep one employee, which means that Charlie - lazy, slow, uncertified, women-obsessed Charlie - is out of a job.

Mma Makusi, adjusting beautifully to being a new mother, decides to branch out into business ownership, which doesn't go as smoothly as hoped.  Mma Ramotswe, adjusting gracefully to her business partner's growing ambitions and divided attention, takes on a case trying to identify a women with amnesia. Her heart is too kind and generous to see Charlie - good-natured, but unemployable Charlie - languish without a job, so she hires him as an assistant.

Again, it strikes me just how good these characters are at heart. They are not perfect, of course, but over and over they do what they can to help those around them and bring out the best in each other. Mma Makutsi discovers that the daughter of one of the workers building her new restaurant can't afford to continue attending Botswana Secretarial College and convinces her husband Phuti Radphuti to provide the funds for her to finish her education.  Mma Potokwane, who runs the local orphanage, offers to purchase some of Mma Ramotswe's cattle so she can afford to hire Charlie, with the plan to return them when calves are born. Mma Ramotswe's personal experience of living in an abusive relationship allows her to reach out to another woman in a similar circumstance and help her find a solution to her difficult predicament.

As Precious takes a walk in the garden with her husband at the end of the book, she soaks up the beauty of the scene she sees.
There was also enough light, Mma Ramotswe reflected, to see that the world was not always a place of pain and loss, but a place where our simple human affairs--those matters that for all their pettiness still sometimes confounded us--were not insoluble, were not without the possibility of resolution.
These books give me hope in humanity.

The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe
by Alexander McCall Smith
ISBN: 9780307911544
Buy it from Amazon here: (hardcoverpaperback, ebook, audiobook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here).

No comments:

Post a Comment