Why Come to Slaka?

Malcolm Bradbury

03 July 2013
256 pages


Slaka! Land of lake and forest, of beetroot and tractor. Slaka! Land whose borders are sometimes here, often further north, and sometimes not at all. Land of cultural riches, of a language that is easy enough to learn if you speak Finnish, or perhaps a little Hittite.

In this wickedly funny satire Malcolm Bradbury rescues from obscurity the country that formed the backdrop to Rates of Exchange. This, then, is the official guidebook to that mysteriously mobile piece of Europe. It confirms that Slaka is reassuringly the same - captivating, infuriating, bureaucratic, anarchic, comic and sinister. Within this deceptively slender handbook, stories and narratives bubble up between the lines to keep you reading and chuckling.

For Slaka is instantly recognizable to any traveller, anyone who has grappled with an unyielding language, argued with officialdom, outdrunk their welcome, mislaid their luggage, missed their train or just misjudged a tip. The guidebook to end - with any luck - all guidebooks.

'Malcolm Bradbury is a satirist of great assurance and accomplishment' Observer