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The Looking-Glass Conference

Godfrey Blunden

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Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A brilliantly funny satire on modern diplomacy.

The Far Eastern republic of Inevitable Khaos is at war with the repulic of Incredible Khaos and an international conference is gathering in a neutral European capital to discuss the problem. First on the scene come the security authorities wrangling about accommodation for their delegations. Sir Peter Hotfoot of the Special Department is understandably jumpy because of the disappearance of those well-known characters Matress and Steyne. Two Russian painters may be spies, refugees seeking political asylum or the advance guard of the Russian delegation. And a young Khaotian patriot decides to live in a tree outside the conference building until peace comes to his country.

Next arrive the delegates themselves: Joseph Foggbottom, USA, the Rt Hon Albion Asp, UK, Yefin P. Golikov, USSR, M Pierre Pion, France, Jo' Wow, Dominant People's Republic of China, and the indistinguishable Premiers of the Inevitable and Incredible Khaos. Princess Tuberose, the White Russian Doyenne of the Foreign Colony, gives her eve-of-the-conference party and the statemen get down to business. They discuss procedure, protocol and the official language. But the main pre-occupation of each is to utter the precise cliche that will fire the world's imagination and immortalize his attendance at the conference.

Te Looking-Glass Conference is a brilliant political satire which never degenerates into caricature. It is uproariously funny, but Mr Blunden's host of characters are endearingly human and their vaired national characteristics are unmistakably true to life.

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