Taking the form of a handbook of manners, and addressed to each servant individually, Directions to Servants is the ultimate upstairs/downstairs battle. With scathing wit, Swift pits master against servant in an endless struggle for order, frugality and the best bits of the roast. His servants are lazy, profligate, and acquisitive: always on the lookout for a shilling to be made on the sale of leftovers, or a half-bottle of wine to share with the cook. Written in Swift's final years of sanity, Directions to Servants is a last hilarious outpouring of cynicism at a lifetime's accumulation of poor service.
Irish clergyman and satirist Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745) is best remembered for his philosophical parody Gulliver's Travels. Journalist and political correspondent Colm Toibin is one of Ireland's leading contemporary writers. His most recent novel is the Booker-shortlisted The Blackwater Lightship.