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About the author:
Dart Travis was born on the island of Jersey to a French-speaking mother and an English-speaking father, which he claims gave him an early interest in the intrinsic lack of genuine communication between cultures. His mother, Denise Leniece, was an accomplished painter, who was fond of the works of Alexandre Dumas, and Dart said she was only dissuaded from calling Dart's three older siblings Athos, Porthos and Aramis by a delegation from both sides of the family (I don't believe a word of it). Whatever, she insisted on christening her youngest son D'Artagnan. Her Jersey landscapes were too bizarre to sell well locally at the time, but are now collected.
Dart and I first met teaching in the 1970s, and I take credit for persuading Dart that while one apostrophe in a name was mildly irritating, two plus an intercap was ridiculous. After a few days of trying to explain his chosen spelling (D'Art') to classes, D'Art' became Dart, and has remained so ever since.
We kept vaguely in touch through the 70s, and I received an occasional rude postcard from the various places where Dart had ended up teaching: The British Council in Bulgaria; the Oxford and Cambridge Language Institute in Thailand and The Kool Skool (sic) in Amsterdam. I met him once, in 1983 when I was in Viareggio, Italy and he turned up with his stunning Italian wife and took me to dinner. He told me he had taught in England again the previous year for a few months, and had tried to look me up but had failed to locate me. I gave him my new address, but the postcards petered out in the mid-nineties, and I often wondered what had happened to him.
I know the eras, and I can confirm the accuracy of the setting of these picaresque novels. Dart has researched the music and events that form the background to the stories so as to give a feel of the era. He also told me that he had persuaded long exiled colleagues to read the manuscripts searching for like, you know, kind of, modernisms, in the dialogue. The novels feel genuinely of their time.
I read them avidly, and it was with major relief that I realized that at least no character bore any resemblance to me. I know Dart had done lights on variety shows in his summer holidays for three years, lived through the May demos at university in 1968 and was a roadie for a rock band in 1969. We were working together in 1972. Dart was always a weaver of tales and the ones here are somewhat different to those he told me nearer the time.
Peter Viney, Three Vee Ltd
English As A Funny Language
Home Affairs takes place ten years after Foreign Affairs, in 1982. It's a crisis point for language schools in England, relying on their 400,000 to 700,000 students a year. The Iranian revolution left many schools with unpaid fees. Argentina has just invaded The Falklands and Britain is not popular in Latin America.
World English Centre (see Foreign Affairs ) is still in business, and Malcolm O'Reilly still runs the place, but Barry Grant and his Italian wife, Gabriella, have opened English Teaching Co-operative just down the road, at a fraction of WEC's prices. They're operating on a shoestring. The boom days have gone. Dave is the stroppy old hand working with them. Dave has taught in many countries and loathes all of them. Add a love affair between an Iranian girl and an Argentinian lad and you get chaos. Meanwhile Dave is trying to take a part-time teaching qualification at the college where he meets ex-Roedean girl, Roberta.
Mansour, a slightly retarded son of an Iranian general, has been stranded by the revolution and works for Barry as a (useless) general assistant. Who's the man in a raincoat from Iran asking all the suspicious questions? Is Mansour in danger?
The vultures are gathering. Local property developers are casting greedy eyes on World English Centre's extensive premises and enlist Cosser Grce-Pitleigh to help them. Cosser has deserted teaching to become an Estate Agent. He's also married. Cosser persuades the tetchy Graham Donaldson, now the world famous and wealthy author of Intercourse to join a consortium to take over WEC. Graham has no idea about the consortium's intentions.
The trouble is all sorts of things are brewing among the developers and night club owners. Cosser gets sucked in, and starts to fear for his life. His panic reactions cause a major crisis.
- Publication Date:
- 1908103094 / 9781908103093
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Fiction / General