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Rates of Exchange Paperback – 13 Sep 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (13 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447222717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447222712
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Explosively funny' Daily Telegraph

‘The work of a master not only of language and comedy, but of feeling too’ Claire Tomalin

'A satirist of great assurance and accomplishment.' Observer

Book Description

'Explosively funny' Daily Telegraph

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Format: Paperback
This book made me laugh out loud several times. Petworth is on a cultural exchange visit to the Eastern European country of Slatka at a time of social unease. This is the story of his adventures and fumblings during his stay. Much of the humour is based on the use of language,and in particular the pidgin English used by the natives. A clever, moving, and very funny book, it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in the early 80s.
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Format: Paperback
It's a wonderful book. It reminds me of my country - Bulgaria which unfortunately has changed very little since the book has been first published in 1982. Today party aparatchiks are again ruling Bulgaria this time as businessmen and their sons and daughters are again in the government and in the Parliament. It is sad and at the same time very funny story. Sad, because I have seen all this and funny because everything that's far away looks somehow funny especially when it's written in such wonderful way. It is even sadder that in Slaka (Bulgaria) history is repeating itself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a hard book to get into. It's about an English Lecturer (Angus Petworth) who travels to the 1980s East Bloc capital Slaka to lecture on the internationality of English. While there he struggles with the regimentation, inflexibility of the native's mentality, language issues, paperwork, and general craziness of the eastern communist mentality.

The problem with the book is it's written in the 1980s, and so feels a little dated. In addition, as someone who has lived in China for 6 years (where the regimentation, inflexibility of the native's mentality, language issues, paperwork, and general craziness ARE crazy, but not as crazy as is laid out here -albeit for comic effect), the book feels mean spirited too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This tale of a naïve academic on a lecture visit to a fictitious Eastern European country - it could be Czechoslovakia or Bulgaria - was written before the Cold War ended. All the political conformity, all the mystery and secrecy, all the austerity and shortages, its all there, and as I remember it personally in Prague or Sofia as a visitor in the '60s. But its there in an hilarious confusion of language, misunderstandings, clandestine sex and Marxist dogma, with at least a chuckle on every page, as Petworth (Petwurt,Pitwit, etc) is entertained (in more than one sense) by his official and unofficial hosts. I relived some of my own experiences, but this time with brilliant wit and humour.
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