by William Boyd
Overweight, beleaguered Morgan Leafy, a minor official in the fictional African country of Kinjaja, muddles his way through a series of misadventures. He faces scandal, blackmail, and venereal disease, as well as a righteous Scottish doctor, whom he must attempt to bribe. A very funny novel, with solid, human characters and wonderfully bizarre situations that are nevertheless more believable than, say, Tom Sharpe’s. The plot unfolds compellingly, in three parts, with the middle part a flashback, and the third a continuation of the first. This is more than just a comic novel, it’s an almost poignant commentary on what it means to be human. Leafy is an ass, and he brings most (but not all) of his troubles on himself, yet he has the reader’s sympathy throughout. An extremely enjoyable book.