In the tradition of Martin Amis'The Informationand John Updike's Henry Bech series comes this ambitious novel about the fray that ensues when intellectuals with different backgrounds and agendas meet under one roof. Russell Smith's first full-length novel since the critically acclaimedNoise, this post-colonial comedy is the story of what happens when Caribbean writer Marcus Royston, a worldly, Oxford-educated, jaded writer from the island of Saint Andrew's finds himself sent to Canada on a cultural exchange, and lodged in the sprawling art nouveau mansion of middle-aged socialite Muriella Pent. Royston's motivations are self-preserving, hers are self-advancing, and both find themselves pawns of the politically motivated arts committee behind the exchange program. When two young university students -- a boy and a girl who hate each other -- are drawn into Royston's fractious orbit, a decidedly unpleasant sexual competition occurs, and life in the leafy enclave of Stilwoode Park becomes more artistic than any of the exchange's sponsors had ever hoped. By turns funny, melancholy, and sexually depraved,Muriella Pentis told through a collage of dialogue, letters, newspaper articles, and diary entries. It is an unnerving satire about age and youth, desire and privilege, and about warring definitions of art among people from different parts of the former British Empire.