William Boyd's choice is The Polyglots by William Gerhardie.
William Boyd's ten novels include A Good Man in Africa, Any Human Heart, and most recently Ordinary Thunderstorms. Named in 1983 as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, he also has a parallel career as a screenwriter.
The novelist William Gerhardie (1895-1977) enjoyed huge success in the 1920s before falling out of favour. His 1925 comic novel The Polyglots follows an eccentric Belgian family and their life in the Far East - in this passage the English narrator Captain Diabologh dines with his fiancée. Reader: Bruce Alexander.