A former member of Great Britain’s diplomatic corps, the celebrated author of the Alexandria Quartet offers eleven sketches of life in service of the crown.
After decades spent representing Britain around the globe, Antrobus has earned a shirtful of medals and the right to pass afternoons in his London club, musing over old times. His memory is long, and every old embarrassment still rankles—no matter how ridiculous. The incident with the Yugoslav ghost train, for instance, still causes him to clench his fists in fear. When he speaks of Sir Claud Polk-Mowbray, he takes pains to lower his voice—lest an American hear. And his stomach has never recovered from the incident involving the fried flag. Based on Lawrence Durrell’s own experience in the diplomatic corps, Antrobus’s cutting observation is drawn from the strange and humorous truth. Few are those with a better sense of place than Durrell, and even fewer with wit to match.