Molvania: A Land Untouched By Modern Dentistry is a spoof travel guide to a fictitious Eastern European country, written by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch. The cover bears effusive praise from the Observer, the Daily Telegraph and Time Out ("It will be genuinely surprising if anyone publishes a funnier book this decade").
I have to admit I was severely underwhelmed by the reading experience – the book is stuffed full of cleverly set-up one-liners, but there is a limit to how many put-downs of eastern Europeans stereotypes (most of which are somewhat outdated, if the immigrant population of the UK is anything to go by!) I can read in one sitting.
The jokes are really quite funny:
"Taxis used to be a nightmare throughout the Eastern Steppes region but are now properly regulated. In Lublova all cabs must be licensed and fumigated at least once a month. Drivers are also obliged to have their photo ID on constant display, showing name, licence number and proof they've recently attended an anger management class." (to be introduced in London? Please?)
"When the imposing six-storey chateau Sucjevitaopened in 1996, Sasava did not have a single high-quality hotel. It still does not."
But in high doses (more than a page), the jokes become galling. The book would make marvellous toilet reading, or an excellent gift for someone you don't really know at all. Or serialised on one of those desk calendars.