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La's Orchestra Saves the World de Alexander…
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La's Orchestra Saves the World (edição: 2008)

de Alexander McCall Smith

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
9056717,800 (3.54)43
It is 1939. Lavender--La to her friends--decides to flee London, not only to avoid German bombs but also to escape the memories of her shattered marriage. Settling in as small town, she organizes an amateur orchestra from the village and the local RAF base and falls in love with one of her prized recruits.… (mais)
Membro:tonile.helena
Título:La's Orchestra Saves the World
Autores:Alexander McCall Smith
Informação:Polygon (2008), Hardcover
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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La's Orchestra Saves the World de Alexander McCall Smith

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Mostrando 1-5 de 67 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This is a sweet and sharply poignant story about the small things that make a big impact in our world. No one treads the boundaries of cozy, sweet, and sorrowful quite like Alexander McCall Smith. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
A charming book about a woman who loses her husband and finds a life for herself in the country during WWII. ( )
  lisahistory | Oct 1, 2020 |
Serious spoilers follow.

At the beginning of the book, two unnamed young men arrive in a village to find out about the life of one La, short for Lavender. They lived with her for a period of some years as children and want to know more about her.

La's was a life without much direction. She has gone to Cambridge and achieved a degree, but without ambition; a man she meets there chivvies her into marriage and she accedes to it, although she feels little for him. She falls in love with him after they marry, we are told, but no sooner do we learn this than he hares off to France to live with his mistress. She drifts to Suffolk to live in her in-laws' second home and the husband whom we've never really got to know dies in France, leaving her a widow. She never does anything, nor did she ever plan to do anything, with her degree.

As the war begins, La seeks to volunteer for war work and the officer in charge of applications steers her into the Women's Land Army. Another choice she didn't make for herself. The duties which she is assigned are exceedingly light; she has to take care of a local farmer's chickens. (The whole impact of the war on Suffolk, or at least on La, is exceedingly light. She seems to have none of the concerns that perplex people in the wartime novels of D. E. Stevenson and others. She bicycles because petrol is hard to come by, and she runs out of tea and coffee. That's it.)

The idea to start a village orchestra is indeed La's, although an RAF officer at the nearby base does most of the groundwork, arranging transportation for soldiers and musicians and finding music. This is the first act of her own volition in her adult life, thus deserving to be the title of the book despite its relatively minor role in the narrative.

Meanwhile Feliks, a Polish officer now visually impaired and unable to fly, enters the story. He becomes a farm labourer and her co-worker. La thinks she is falling in love with him; at least, she's obsessed with his existence. Her obsession takes a less savoury turn when she decides he may be German and thus, possibly a spy. She reports this to her friend the RAF officer who is frankly incredulous, but once such a suspicion is voiced, he is inevitably taken in for questioning and never returns. This is the second action La takes, and for her it is disastrous. She hears that he's been cleared and his talents found useful in translation or interpreting, but she doesn't see him again during the war, or for many years after.

The orchestra putters along, the war ends, La continues to drift. She eventually runs into Feliks. It transpires that he forgave her for her betrayal, although not enough to look her up, and married a Catholic who held her vows lightly enough to abandon him and their two sons. In the 1960s La organizes a reunion of the orchestra to do a concert for peace (the nuclear disarmament era was in full swing). They do this concert without rehearsal! I cringe to think of it. Feliks shows up, with his sons in tow, and La in the third positive action of her life invites him and the boys to stay. "I think we would be happy." So that's where the boys in Chapter One came from.

Happy? I think it was inevitably a slow motion train wreck, just as disastrous as her wartime denunciation, because Feliks is portrayed as a serious Catholic. His faith is important to him. He is married, no matter that his wife is unfaithful, still he is married. When he moves in with La, he has to forsake his church for as long as they stay together. This would be a constant heartache to him. Apparently he stuck it out for a few years, with sufficient grace that the boys remember the time fondly, and then left. La survives the episode by only a few years.

So basically, the story is a tragedy of a wasted life with a tragic ending. Not very uplifting! ( )
  muumi | Feb 13, 2020 |
Very slow and gentle, this is a quiet little story. McCall Smith writes it with the measured pace he uses with the No 1 Ladies Detective books except it's even slower than that. Overall I enjoyed it though I found it frustratingly slow at times. I think it expresses a lot of what it must have felt like in rural England during the war. At the same time McCall Smith is also giving us an quiet insistent undercurrent of concern about war and demagogues, frightening at this particular current time. ( )
  nancenwv | Nov 17, 2019 |
There's a discussion of nonviolence running through this marvelously crafted romance. From the overt discussion one is left wondering if nonviolence really can be a valid response to evil. I closed the book wondering what the author was saying, and then: read the title of the book. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 67 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
". . . McCall Smith tells a deceptively quiet story about what might on the surface seem a life of disappointment. . . [yet] La, with or without her slightly out-of-tune orchestra, saves her circumscribed world with little fanfare, one human gesture at a time."
adicionado por 4leschats | editarBookPage, Robert (Dec 1, 2009)
 
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For her, life seemed unchanged, barely touched by the movements and shifts of the times. Again I have missed it, she thought; heady things are happening, and I am not there; I am somewhere in the wings, watching what is happening on the stage, in a play in which I have no real part. That is what my life has been.... I have been a handmaiden; she relished the word--a handmaiden; one who waits and watches; assists, perhaps, but only in a small way....
"We can't afford to be without God," Feliks continued.... If you take God out of it, then right and justice become small, human things. And weak things, too."

La thought about this. He was right, perhaps, even if she did not feel that she needed God in the same way Feliks seems to need him. She would do whatever she had to do--even if it was for the sake of simple decency. You did not wipe a child's tears because God told you to do so. You did it because the tears were there.
Surely she should feel indifferent towards him--there were so many displaced persons, people washed up by the war, people from somewhere else--and yet already she felt that looking after him was something that she had to do. But why? Because he was in need and he was about to cross her path. That, perhaps, was the basis of our responsibility to one another; the simple fact that we collided with one another.
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It is 1939. Lavender--La to her friends--decides to flee London, not only to avoid German bombs but also to escape the memories of her shattered marriage. Settling in as small town, she organizes an amateur orchestra from the village and the local RAF base and falls in love with one of her prized recruits.

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