I'm indebted to my friend Beverly, a retired travel agent, for turning me on to this hilariously serious book. The NY Review of Books summarized the 1956 travel novel this way:
"'Take my camel, dear,' said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass." So begins The Towers of Trebizond, the greatest novel by Rose Macaulay, one of the eccentric geniuses of English literature. In this fine and funny adventure set in the backlands of modern Turkey, a group of highly unusual travel companions makes its way from Istanbul to legendary Trebizond, encountering potion-dealing sorcerers, recalcitrant policemen, and Billy Graham on tour with a busload of Southern evangelists.
Read the full review.
I sandwiched it between Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake and the birthday gift book, Helen Vendler's Poets Thinking. Those are both nice books, but Trebizond is something else. Get a copy. Summer is just starting, and you can only stay in the water for so long ...