The Music Programme

Paul Micou, Author
Paul Micou, Author Carol Publishing Corporation $16.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-55972-023-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
Micou's comic first novel, already published to plaudits in England, apparently draws on his experiences as a speechwriter for a U.N. agency in East Africa, but seems for the most part inspired by the surreal colonial satires of Evelyn Waugh. When the $40-million annual budget of the Music Programme, a Unesco-created agency based in the mythical African nation of Timbali, is jeopardized by investigating congressional aide Charles ``Crack'' McCray, who has come to conduct an investiga tion into charges of mismanagement, a wacky group of administrators, performing artists and employees pulls together to make the organization look somehow more than it is--namely, a source of easy money and good living in an otherwise arid, remote and misbegotten waste. The cast of characters includes an ineffectual but well-meaning administrator; a lusty Irish-American speechwriter; a tribal-woman-cum-secretary; an alcoholic jazz trombonist; a composer of MAXIMALIST music (the capitalization is his); and finally, at the center of it all, the musician's beautiful, love-starved wife. The farce is set into motion by a series of romantic intrigues but never really gathers much steam; though pleasant, Micou's comedy lacks the nastiness and purpose of successful satire. The result is toothless and somewhat silly. Still, fans of the P. G. Wodehouse school may find the novel redeemed, in the end, by its sweetness. (June)
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