The finest of Lawrence Durrell’s classic short stories of diplomatic mischief
Dark is the day when culture comes to Sczbog. The capital of Vulgaria, nestled snugly behind the Iron Curtain, has long been devoid of higher thought, and that is the way the men in the British embassy like it. But when the French embassy gives a lecture on literature, it ignites a chain reaction of unwanted cultural exchange, subjecting the King’s men to endless nights of Dutch poetry, Japanese theater, and Swiss yodeling. Extricating themselves from this high-minded mess will take a miracle of a most unpolitic kind. This is a typical incident in the long and colorful career of Antrobus, diplomat in his Majesty’s service. In these pages, he confronts waltzing ambassadors, half-mad press secretaries, and a gruesome Kurdish circumcision. Through it all, he and his men stay calm, knowing that the surest way to cause a diplomatic incident is to make the mistake of attempting diplomacy.