Beware of Men With Moustaches

 

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          Four British poets accept an invitation to make a cultural visit to a little-known ex-soviet country and soon find themselves in a Kafkaesque labyrinth of mistaken identity, fake email addresses, impossibly high stilettos and impossibly cheap vodka.

 

          'Clever, inventive and funny, Beware of Men with Moustaches twists and turns its way through the literary and scenic highlights of Karetsefia, as its characters gradually become aware of their own insularity in a country which is struggling to come to terms with its new identity – and where people have more to worry about than whether or not their next poetry collection is going to be published.'
     Caroline Taggart, best-selling author of I Used to Know That

          “I forget to say,” said Ivanka, turning round in her seat as the driver took both hands off the steering wheel to light a cigarette. “Your poetry group is very welcome to Karetsefia. Our versifiers keenly anticipate your readings.”
           “We’re honoured to have been invited,” replied Steve expansively, “and we hope to take something of your country back with us.”
           “Not icons,” said Ivanka. “You cannot take back icons.”
           “No, I didn’t mean that. I meant the spirit of the place.”
           “Yes, vodka you take.”

          “You are not to blame,” the official continued, in a kindly tone. “You are a man. But we do not like our fallen women to ply their trade on our trains.”
           “She’s not a prostitute,” said Steve, thinking more clearly now that the threat of pederasty had passed. “She’s a physiology student.”
           “There are many ways to pay for a university course,” agreed the official. “But not on our trains.”

          “That passport,” said Sybil. “What’s it covered with? Something on the CITES list?”
           “CITES? What is this CITES?”
           “The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.”
           Ludmilla looked none the wiser.
           “That,” said Sybil, pointing to the passport cover. “What’s it made of?”
           “I think you call hedgehog?”
           Sybil gave up.

 

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