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  • Virago

Mandoa, Mandoa!: A Comedy of Irrelevance

Winifred Holtby

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Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Mandoa is a small African state: at its head a Virgin Princess, conceiving (immaculately) further princesses. The old traditions remain undisturbed until Mandoa's Lord High Chamberlain, Safi Tala, visits Addis Ababa. There he discovers baths and cocktail shakers, motor cars and cutlery from Sheffield, telephones and handkerchiefs. In short, he has seen an apocalyptic vision - a new heaven and a new earth.

Meanwhile in England it is 1931. Maurice Durrant, youngest director of Prince's Tours Limited, has won North Donnington for the Conservatives. His socialist brother Bill is unemployed and their friend Jean Stanbury loses her job on The Byeword, a radical weekly paper. How all three, and others too, find themselves in Mandoa for the wedding of the Royal Princess to her Arch-archbishop is hilariously told in this wonderful satirical novel, first published in 1933.

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Winifred Holtby

Winifred Holtby (1898-1935), journalist, critic, feminist, pacifist and author won the James Tait Black Memorial prize with South Riding, her last novel.

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