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FRIDAY

Whenever Richard Timothy Conroy publishes a memoir of his time in the foreign service, readers can expect several things: wittily absurdist dialogue, a parade of bizarre characters, endless diplomatic runarounds, and a whiff of pathos. Conroy’s first memoir, 1997’s Our Man in Belize, covered his early-’60s stint in British Honduras, now known as Belize. This year, he published Our Man in Vienna, which covers his time as an embassy functionary in Austria, from 1963 to 1966. Each posting has its quirks, but also its melancholy: Belize features a devastating hurricane and the slow disintegration of Conroy’s treasured piano; Vienna is set in a tense East-West crossroads at the height of the Cold War. After he published Belize, Conroy told me that his half-bemused, half-exasperated take on the foreign service led even some of his true-blue fellow retirees to chuckle. Conroy appears tonight at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Louis Jacobson)

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