Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith ***

Reading dates: 23 May — 7 June 2014

Sometimes, I crave reading about a place. The day I chose to start this book, my beloved Mackintosh Library burnt into disappearance and I needed comfort, something unwaveringly good, clear cut, easy, kind.

Library Library_May 14

Tears of the Giraffe is all of those things. I have never been to Botswana or Zimbabwe but McCall Smith (as does Muriel Spark) make me want to go. The book — a mixture of a novel and short stories, perhaps a novel made of short stories — is heavy in its morality, sometimes too much in your face, too didactic. Yet the characters, the repetitions of their names in particular, are like lullabies. They pacified my state of unrest, my sleeplessness. Sometimes, that is all I ask of a book: a bit of mothering. I read many at a time, for I am whimsical. I have my morning books, those I read with breakfast, my holiday books, my learned book (my reading list), and my comfort books, the ones I want in my dreams. Tears of the Giraffe and Mma Ramotswe are definitely in the last category: short, sweet, entertaining, effective and undemanding.