Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party

by Alexander McCall Smith

Books of the Month - <b>May</b> Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Family Drama Modern and Classic Literary Fiction Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party

Winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2015.

One of our Books of the Year 2014.

A scrumptious, joyous read, stuffed full of sharp wit, laugh out loud frolics and gentle soothing compassion. Fatty and his loving, loyal saint of a wife Betty leave the comforts of home for a holiday to Ireland in 1979. A number of lamentable and often laughable events befall Fatty and because she is at his side, Betty too. The author as well as pointing out the ridiculous, also allows us to see Fatty from Betty’s eyes and therefore opens ours. Completely charming, this is a little gem of a book and an absolute pleasure to read. ~ Liz Robinson


September 2014 Book of the Month.


The third in The Austen project, a reworking of Emma written by Alexander McCall Smith, is published in November 2014. The first two in this project are already published and include Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope and Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid. A reworking of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld is scheduled for 2015.

Liz Robinson

Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party Synopsis

His loving wife Betty plans a trip to Ireland for his 40th birthday and almost immediately things go wrong: the seats in economy class on the plane are too small; Irish bathroom furniture is not as commodious as he'd have liked. And all the time Fatty must put up with the unthinking cruelty of strangers. In an hilarious and touching portrayal of a kindly and misunderstood soul, McCall Smith has created yet another memorable character who will become an instant favourite to his many fans.

Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Ray Orgill - 'A very attractive little book with a hard back cover and quality paper which would make a pocket-size present for anyone in need of cheering up.' Read full review>
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'What readers can expect from Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party is that it is full of humour and a must read short novel.  I highly recommend Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party to all readers.' Read full review>
  • Angie Rhodes - 'Considering this is only a slim book, Alexander has managed to get the reader so involved with the characters, so much, you find yourself not wanting the book to end.' Read full review>
  • Janet Gilliard - 'This cute little book is a stand alone novella...It is a story of the value of friendship. I shall be trying more books by this author.' Read full review>
  • Ann Peet - 'Some amusing bits but not up to his usual high standard.' Read full review>
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'I am not a big fan of McCall Smith –find his work too ‘lite weight’ – but this one has somewhat changed by view.  I loved Fatty!' Read full review>
  • Les Warriner - 'The jury is still out. ...in much the same way as Victor Meldrew, it is indeed a black comedy with a twist in the tale.' Read full review>
  • Jillian McFrederick - 'The vindication as revealed in the last pages gives us a glimpse of hope and humanity, rounding off the story in a satisfactory way.' Read full review>
  • Elisabeth Thomas - 'Not Alexander McCall Smith at his best.' Read full review>
  • Susan Walsh - 'Hilariously funny in parts with a few real Irish twists...This will have you smiling as you read. Very well written & immensely enjoyable.' Read full review>
  • Christine Phillips - 'The situations Fatty finds himself in are very funny and I liked him and his wife. I was on their side throughout the book.' Read full review>

The Good Book Guide Review

Cornelius ‘Fatty’ O’Leary and his devoted wife Betty take a trip from their home in Arkansas to Ireland, from whence Fatty’s grandfather set out to make his fortune many years earlier. Hopeful that his ancestral land would be full of delights and that the holiday would be memorable for all the right reasons, Fatty finds himself beset by a series of misfortunes and humiliations, indignities and embarrassments, and he returns home a little wiser and more self-aware. This ‘literary amuse bouche’ puts its genial main character through trial by ordeal, but happily gives its amply proportioned hero the last laugh.

Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party Press Reviews

'McCall Smith's generous writing and dry humour, his gentleness and humanity, and his ability to evoke a place and a set of characters without caricature or condescension have endeared his books to readers' - The New York Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846973000
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846973000
Publication date: 7th August 2014
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 176 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith was our Guest Editor in July 2011 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing. Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series ...

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