Book: Tears of the Giraffe

"Tears of the Giraffe"

Precious Ramotswe is the eminently sensible and cunning proprietor of the only ladies’ detective agency in Botswana. In Tears of the Giraffe she tracks a wayward wife, uncovers an unscrupulous maid, and searches for an American man who disappeared into the plains many years ago. In the midst of resolving uncertainties, pondering her impending marriage to a good, kind man, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and promoting her talented secretary (a graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, with a mark of 97 percent), she also finds her family suddenly and unexpectedly increased by two.

There is something to be said about a straightforward story; one that is bereft of twists and turns, of gimmicks. It’s refreshing in this age when books either subscribe to the currently trending genre…when writers are always trying to find that plus one to make their story stand out.

Tears of the Giraffe, the second novel from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, eschews the unneeded and focuses on the story of Precious Ramotswe: her life, the people around her, and the two cases that she must solve.

Granted, this novel was published fourteen years ago. True, there were already a lot of books being published even then, but there was never that burning need to make each book be ground-breaking. They just needed to be well-written and entertaining, and readers will pick them up.

Nowadays, that’s no longer the case. Writers are being pressured to write the next epic.

The funny thing is, this gets indirectly discussed within Tears of the Giraffe. Writer Alexander McCall Smith talks about the changes in today’s values compared to the ones from before. McCall Smith shares his thoughts on the trends of today’s generation through characters Mma Ramotswe and Rra Matekoni. It’s actually very entertaining, reading how much difference a decade makes in people’s upbringing.

And it is equally interesting to analyze the difference in how the publishing industry has changed in the same amount of time.

I guess I really don’t have much to say about McCall Smith’s Tears of the Giraffe. It’s a solid story that’s refreshing to read. Which I had already said. But I am interested in hearing from anyone their thoughts on the trends in the publishing industry.

Why are we seeing fewer books like The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and more books on supernatural romance and mommy porn? That is, if that’s still the trend today.


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