This is a funny, but at the same time thoughtful and cynical novel about journalism in the thirties of the twentieth century, coinciding with the fashion of reporters on the hunt for news and the emergence of news agencies. Newspapers were fighting for scoops and big news with no expense spared. Evelyn Waugh wrote the novel coinciding with the strong propaganda of totalitarianism at that time and the importance of journalists and photojournalists in the Spanish Civil War and the Fascist Italian war in Abyssinia.
Waugh moves the situation to an imaginary African dictatorship, without missing the opportunity to criticize the Marxist revolutions. The plot is simple, a mix-up throws an unknown weekly gardening columnist into such an African dictatorship where no one knows what is going on. The circumstances and the situation lead him to become a figure of journalism, which serves to criticize those incipient information media and the curious characters that surround him, with the mastery and imagination of a great writer.