Review: “The Greek Interpreter” by Max Davidson

Thumbs up for The Greek Interpreter by Max Davidson. Comic thriller.

Oh look! A novel about an interpreter! And he actually interprets stuff! At least, when he’s not trying to get with his never-quite-within-grasp girlfriend, or escape the baddies into whose plot he has inadvertently stumbled while working at the 57th Conference of the World League of Parliaments in Bangkok. A delightfully funny little book that is worth searching out if you think you might like British humor poking fun at international political conferences, linguists, and crime dramas.

Sir Rufus staggered to his feet and made his way to the podium, a slow, statemanlike progress, with pauses to shake hands with the leader of the Zambian delegation and with Mr Achapong, who seemed taken aback by the honour. There was an appreciative round of applause, such as might greet an old theatrical knight who had done a marvelous Hamlet in 1938 and nothing but sherry ads since. A sense of expectation combined with feelings of pity: the medical auxiliaries at the back of the Chamber stubbed out their cigarettes and took up positions by the stretcher. If the clock had started as soon as he’d been called, Sir Rufus would have used up four of his five minutes before he’d opened his mouth—then a further thirty seconds clearing his throat and evacuating the remains of his breakfast on to the microphone. But for Sir Rufus the normal stringencies could be relaxed. He was, as he might have said himself—for Englishmen of his generation had only one second language—sui generis.

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