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My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall-Smith

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

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Gordon Walker

'My Italian Bulldozer' is my first encounter with the popular author Alexander McCall Smith. Paul, the subject of the novel, arrives in Pisa on way to Montalcino to finish his book on Tuscany food and wine. The only vehicle available for hire is a bulldozer! This forces him to travel at a leisurely pace through the countryside, allowing him to share with us his impressions of the Tuscany scenery, inhabitants, food and wine. His observations are delightfully presented. The tempo changes in Montalcino when Paul tries to resolve his feelings for three ladies who arrive because of his presence in Montalcino They are his ex-partner Becky, his editor Gloria and Anne whom Paul rescued from a roadside ditch using the bulldozer (of course).This a relatively short novel of 233 pages, ideal for a flight, say, from Britain to Tuscany. It is humorous, romantic and intriguing. It is also an introduction to the food and wine of Tuscany, with particular attention to porcini mushrooms and the famous red wine, Brunello di Montalcino.

Susan Carter

Author Paul Stuart writes about what he knows best - discovering food and wine hidden gems but he struggles for find a way forward from his broken relationship until his Editor sends him off to Tuscany to complete his current book. She persuades him to immerse himself in the slow easy charm of the Tuscan landscape and to stay in the same place of his younger days. A place of seeming pastoral tranquility where our senses drift with him and the characters we meet along the way like a Huckleberry Finn raft interspersed with reality jolts and humour. Where the consequences of past and present judgements by and of the characters make us rethink our view on hearing a different perspective. You question the truth of your own moral compass . Is a wrong deed made right because it was done for the right reasons? And are those reasons beyond reproach? McCall Smith draws us in gently. He takes the absurd and makes it a metaphor of strength and possibilities. He uses it a a vantage point for Paul to see beyond the first layer of consciousness and enables him to see what really matters after all.

Jan Taylor-Nobbs

What a lovely, gentle and evocative tale, seasoned with a touch of the absurd. McCall Smith's vivid description of a small Hill Town in Tuscany transported me there. I could feel the warmth of the sun, hear the birds, smell the olive groves!! I was transported to Montalcino and could easily imagine sitting in the small restaurant, delighted by the cooking smells and anticipating a wonderful meal accompanied by fine wine. And I found myself wondering just when Paul's book would be available. A much needed escape from the currently dreary British Weather and our present Political Turmoil!!

Michael Rines

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith of No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency fame has the sort of improbable plot that few other writers could get away with. Hero, food and drink writer Paul Stuart, suffers writer’s block when his partner leaves him for her tattooed personal trainer. He hopes to recover and meet the deadline for his unfinished book by escaping to the tranquillity of a small Italian hilltop village. Unfortunately, the hire car booked to get there from Pisa is not available, and the only vehicle on offer is a bulldozer. In this, he drives to the village and gets in and out of some hilarious scrapes, including making his own parking space and shifting the village boundary. The machine proves to be a passport to popularity with the natives of the village and a turn-on for the ladies. In the course of this story, we learn a great deal about the local food and wine, and become immersed in the charm of the Italian hilltop country, with which our hero and McCall Smith himself are clearly in love. It works for Stuart; he meets the deadline for his book and repairs his love life.

Angela Heather

I found this book rather lightweight but good holiday reading if you want gentle entertainment. The storyline is minimal, parts of it are funny and quirky but overall I found it rather silly and boring. The characters could have been developed more and Paul, the main character, was so irritating I just wanted to shake him. This is not my kind of book, I like a page turner and this is certainly not.

Gwyneth Harria

As a fan of Alexander McCall Smith I am delighted to review his new book 'My Italian Bulldozer'. In his true style the background is succinctly described, then you arrive at the hire car check-in desk and the amusement begins. Three women, café gossip, food and wine with a publisher's deadline to meet govern the pace. An entertaining read that takes you to the Tuscan countryside in all its grandeur.

Beryl Whiteside

A really enjoyable read. Alexander McCall Smith never fails to produce a novel that is witty and entertaining. The inclusion of a bulldozer adds an extra twist to the storyline. The book was easily readable and I soon felt that I knew all the characters. The main character was an author of cookery books and, as the story progressed I found myself thinking that I must search out and read some of the books that he had written. Impossible of course.

Sue H

I have read The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency in the past so I was both surprised and delighted to read this book by the author as it as it was so different. My Italian Bulldozer was an enjoyable light read. It transports the reader into rural Tuscany bringing sunshine, warmth, excellent Italian food and good wine to mind. The book is based on a character who is an author of books of food and wine. He goes to Italy to finish his book and try to mend his broken heart after his girlfriend ran off and left him for her personal trainer. In Italy he hires a bulldozer as no cars are available. This and the people he meets make a funny, charming feel good story.