La's Orchestra Saves the World: Book summary and reviews of La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith

La's Orchestra Saves the World

A Novel

By Alexander McCall Smith

La's Orchestra Saves the World
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Dec 2009,
    304 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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. The peace and solitude of the small town she settles in are therapeutic ... at least at first. As the war drags on, in need of some diversion and to boost the town’s morale, La organizes an amateur orchestra, drawing musicians from the village and the local RAF base. Among the strays she corrals is Feliks, a shy, proper Polish refugee who becomes her prized recruit – and the object of feelings she thought she'd put away forever.

Does La's orchestra save the world? The people who come to hear it think so. But what will become of it after the war is over? And what will become of La herself? And of La's heart?

With his all-embracing empathy and his gentle sense of humor, Alexander McCall Smith makes of La's life – and love – a tale to enjoy and cherish.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"This book is unlike anything else in McCall Smith's work. It is at times beautifully precise and psychologically acute, at others hurried or in pursuit of rather meaningless sub-plots. Its emotional depths may disconcert some of his huge fan base, but also give them unexpected pleasure." - The Independent (UK)

"As love stories go, this is more Brief Encounter than Captain Correlli's Mandolin. La is an excellent recreation of a woman of her time, and as we reach the book's final full stop it becomes essential to return to that cryptic beginning to fully savour the story's resonance and depth." - The Scotsman

"... the characters are gauze-thin and the plot meanders along like a country lane... " - The Observer (UK)

"If you enjoy a meditative, amusing and predictable sort of novel then you'll pass an enjoyable couple of hours with La's Orchestra, but like La herself, the book sits alone and awkward, unsure of its rightful place." - Scotland on Sunday

"While the understated prose appeals, La just isn't as interesting a creation as the author's two female sleuths...." - Publishers Weekly

The information about La's Orchestra Saves the World shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
Heartwarming
La’s Orchestra Saves the World is a stand-alone novel by Alexander McCall-Smith. It is set around the time of the Second World War in England. Lavender Stone (La to her friends) leaves London for a Suffolk village in the wake of a disastrous marriage. When the war starts, she becomes a part of the small community in her village. She sets up an orchestra which brings the village and the men on the nearby airbase together and gives them some hope for the future. She also meets Feliks, a shy Polish pilot who has an unexpected effect on her. For me, this book somehow has the feel of Mary Ann Shaffer’s Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, perhaps because it is set in the same time period. The end seemed to be headed for a let-down, but the last page was a pleasant surprise. As with all Alexander McCall-Smith’s books, filled with gentle philosophy: it was a joy to read.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Alexander McCall Smith Author Biography

Alexander McCall Smith began the now highly successful 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series in 1996, after being inspired by the sight of a 'traditionally built' Botswanan lady chasing down a chicken for a meal. The first book in the series - 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' was published in the UK in 1998 but didn't arrive in the USA until 2001.

Series Order
1. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
2. Tears of The Giraffe
3. Morality For Beautiful Girls
4. The Kalahari Typing School For Men
5. The Full Cupboard of Life
6. In The Company of Cheerful Ladies
7. Blue Shoes and Happiness
8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors
10. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
11. The Double Comfort Safari Club
12. The Saturday...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Alexander McCall Smith's Website

Other books by Alexander McCall Smith at BookBrowse

33 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

More Recently Published Novels

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  170The Weight of Blood:
    Laura McHugh
  2.  254Cartwheel:
    Jennifer duBois

All Discussions

Who Said...

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.