‘I love this city, and always shall. I write about it. I dream about it. I walk its streets and see something new each day – traces of faded lettering on the stone, still legible, but just; some façade that I have walked past before and not noticed; an unregarded doorway with the names, in brass, of those who lived there sixty years ago, the bell-pulls sometimes still in place, as if one might summon long-departed residents from their slumbers.’
Edinburgh is a city of stories – a place that has witnessed everything from great historical upheavals, to the individual lives of a remarkable cast of characters. Every spire, cobblestone, bridge, close and avenue has a tale to tell.
In this sumptuous new book, Alexander McCall Smith curates his own, distinctive story of Edinburgh – combining his affectionate, incisive wit with a wealth of stunning imagery drawn from Scotland’s national collection of architecture and archaeology. Through a series of photographs, maps, drawings and paintings – many never before published – he takes the reader on a unique tour. Just like the city’s architecture, the book can move in an instant from sweeping views to secret, hidden vignettes. This is a story of famous landmarks and lost buildings; the people who made them; the people who lived in them.
A Work of Beauty is an intimate portrait of a city by one of Scotland’s greatest storytellers.
Alexander McCall Smith enjoyed a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, before turning to writing full-time. He is the author of over eighty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-six languages.
'Sandy McCall Smith amazes fellow scribblers with his freshness and sheer verve. Having lived in Edinburgh for 20 years, I loved A Work of Beauty, his beautifully written evocation of the most beautiful city in the world.' Alistair Moffat, The Scotsman Books of the Year 2014
'Alexander McCall Smith has penned a love letter to Scotland's capital . . . A Work of Beauty lays bare the changing face of Auld Reekie, capturing forever the eternal beauty of its historic skyline and the qualities that have earned it the title "the Athens of the North"' The Sunday Post