[ilds] The Ambassador's Camel

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 1 16:55:02 PDT 2014

David Holdsworth, long and upstanding member of the ILDS, has published The Ambassador's Camel:  Undiplomatic Tales of Embassy Life (2010).  David is a retired Canadian diplomat, who spent many years abroad and who acquired an intimate knowledge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Ottawa and in the fields beyond.  That intimacy has resulted in a fine appreciation of satire in the Great Tradition of Durrell's Antrobus stories.  As Holdsworth says, "A tip of the hat to old LD, who showed the way."  Indeed.  Holdsworth has Durrell's wicked sense of humor, but he has improved on Durrell's erratic storyline (who once wrote he knocked off his stories at the breakfast table before sending to Playboy).  Holdsworth's stories follow an oddball cast of characters as they stumble down the path of diplomatic life in the fictional kingdom of Bharalya, located somewhere East of Suez and West of Myanmar (Burma) but not where the "flyin'-fishes play."  The sustained plot resembles Paul Theroux's Consul's File (1977).  Holdsworth's  Rabelaisian humor treats his readers to a lot of excremental jokes ("he embraced the procelain god"), light sex ("a passion for old wines and young ladies"), and bad puns ("Christmas in Camelot").  Allusions to Durrell's Quartet spice the work:  an Eastern potentate who resembles Memlik Pasha, a parrot like Scobie's (only far more malicious), and a dromedary in Camelot (who does a peripeteia and performs the butchering).  Unlike Durrell, Holdsworth also has an acute sense of the follies of the corporate world and similar institutions.  His satire hits home in those environments too.  I highly recommend The Ambassador's Camel for all those followers of Antrobus and his adventures.  See link below.


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