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Rates Of Exchange

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  107 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Rates of Exchange is a novel that touches, comically, on many important themes: language barriers, alienation, East-West relations, realism and reality.
Published May 5th 2000 by Not Avail (first published January 1st 1984)
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May 12, 2015 Isobel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book could have been half the length. It's definitely very dated and consequently would not seem the least bit funny at the present time. I travelled to the USSR in the 80s and could relate to many of the descriptions but basically the plot never moved on - it went round in circles.
This was a hard book to get into. It's about an English Lecturer (Angus Petworth) who travels to the 1980s East Bloc capital Slaka to lecture on the internationality of English. While there he struggles with the regimentation, inflexibility of the native's mentality, language issues, paperwork, and general craziness of the eastern communist mentality.

The problem with the book is it's written in the 1980s, and so feels a little dated. In addition, as someone who has lived in China for 6 years (wh
Daniel Simmons
An early 80's comic satire of a bumbling Brit linguist's misadventures in the fictional Eastern European country of Slaka (a thinly veiled Romania, though it could be any one of the Iron Curtain republics, really). I found it very entertaining, with some truly laugh-out-loud moments, but perhaps the material has not aged as well as it could have. Overall I found it rather insubstantial, despite its pointedness and cleverness regarding academia, linguistic theory, and Soviet-style tourism.
Donal O
I liked this, reminded me of Czech in term sod environment but more of DPRK in terms of society, although DPRK was way more strict and the open conversations in this book would never have occurred there. Strange structure to the book in that the initial few days take about two thirds of the book and the rest of it really rushes through his journey.
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Sir Malcolm Stanley Bradbury CBE was an English author and academic. He is best known to a wider public as a novelist. Although he is often compared with David Lodge, his friend and a contemporary as a British exponent of the campus novel genre, Bradbury's books are consistently darker in mood and less playful both in style and language. His best known novel The History Man, published in 1975, is ...more
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“There is a girl behind the desk in blue uniform, with dark red hair, spread fanlike from her head in lacquered splendour; she looks at them without interest. 'Hallo, dolling,' says Lubijova, 'Here is Professor Petwurt, reservation of the Min'stratii Kulturi, confirmation here.' 'So, Petvurt?' the girl says, taking a pen from her hair and running it languidly down the columns of a large book. 'Da, Pervert, so, here is. Passipotti. ' 'She likes your passport, don't give it to her, says Lubijova, 'Give it to me. I know these people well, they are such bureaucrats. Now, dolling, tell me, how long do you keep?' 'Tomorrow,' says the girl, 'It registers with the police.” 0 likes
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