Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness and Happiness
Anchor Books (Penguin Random House)
1 March 2022 First published 4 May 2021 by Pantheon (Penguin Random House)
Tiny Tales – a unique collaboration from bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith and illustrator Iain McIntosh. Perfect short stories that dance across your mind just as an amuse bouche dances on your tongue.
Stories do not have to be long. In the space of a couple of sentences – or even a page or two – we may see the human heart exposed in a way that is more powerful than occurs in many much longer narratives.
In Tiny Tales Alexander McCall Smith explores romance, ambition, kindness and happiness in thirty short stories that range in length from the short to the minuscule. The settings are as diverse as the characters – Scotland, England, Australia, the United States – combining to create a rich and surprising tableau. An Australian pope? A persuasive cosmetic surgeon? The world’s laziest cat? A group of students living together and getting romantically entangled? All human and animal life is here – in miniature.
These stories are inspired and accompanied by the thirty magnificent strip Tiny Tales created by McCall Smith and illustrated by the brilliant Iain McIntosh – each cartoon a little gem of observation.
Tiny Tales strips appeared every week in the London Financial Times for a four month period.
Very short stories are not the exclusive preserve of writers. Illustrators are also adept at the form, and it was for this reason that I approached the well-known Scottish illustrator Iain McIntosh to see whether he would be interested in embarking on a series of extremely brief stories. The idea was that Iain would draw four panels in which a whole story would be illustrated with the minimum of text.
‘Whimsical. . . . Quirky and delightful’
Booklist (Starred review)
‘Tiny windows on the world… deft and funny and smart’
The Financial Times
‘Wasy to read, charismatic and charming. It convincingly demonstrates that length is by no means essential for a captivating read… the variety and individuality of each tale pays testament to McCall Smith’s creative abilities *****’
‘The man who came up with Botswana’s first lady detective (The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) has done it again, this time in miniature. Tiny Tales is a selection of short, diverse stories and cartoon strips that ripple with humour. Perfect for those without the time, patience or inclination to pick up a novel. It will have readers – especially new ones – coming back for more’
‘It is remarkably clever how, in just a few pages, he [Alexander McCall Smith] can create a complete little world… The tales aptly demonstrate the brilliance of the writer’s imagination… the book also contains an extra treat, something almost worth buying the book for alone. Interspersed throughout the text are little graphic stories, called amuse-bouches drawn by A.McCS’s friend, Iain McIntosh… Each set of four witty images has a punch line and they are satisfying in much the same way as A A.McCS’s text – and together make Tiny Tales a little treasure’
PATRICIA CLEVELAND PECK, THE CULTURAL VOYAGER
‘His talent is concentrated down to its purest form… intoxicating stuff’