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Micou's first novel, written after the style of Evelyn Waugh and William Boyd, is an amusing romp through familiar territory--an imaginary country in Africa where coups are as commonplace as the cast of misfits who drink their days away at the local club. Timbali, a country of great poverty and beauty, is home to the International Music Programme, headed by the mysterious Supreme Director, who lives in splendor on the edge of the Music Programme's lavish compound but is never seen by his associates. The source of funding for the programs is equally mysterious. Thought to be part of UNESCO, the institution also receives money from the American government--money that generously supports ""Skip"" turner, an American jazz trombonist; Ludvik Kastosis, the MAXIMALIST composer-in-residence; ""the Bloody Bolshies,"" a group devoted to Russian-style pianism; and the American speechwriter Dan O'Connor, who got his job because the personnel director thought he was Irish. When Charles ""Crack"" McCray, aide to a congressman, determined to end this flagrant waste of taxpayers' dollars, arrives in Timbali to investigate the setup, the Music Programme officers fear an end to their idyll. But in a sequence of comic misadventures, they somehow manage to stave off the threats to the funding. And ""Crack"" McCray has his own epiphanies: an affair with the beautiful pianist Eleanor; a close encounter with a deadly snake; and an actual meeting with the Supreme Director--a shy philanthropist who turns out to be one of the Programme's most talented musicians. Micou has an excellent eye for the absurd--and bloated peripheral international organizations are fair game for satire--but somehow most of this is old ground; nothing really new is added. Amusing and well-written, but neither Waugh nor Boyd--not yet.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol