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For Mills, transport — bustle, fuss, speed, movement — is the central symbol of the communal imagination.

Tom Williams - Cabinet of Curiosities | Literary Review | Issue

In a larger sense, transport is how we connect to each other, how we leave our homes, our selves, and meet others. There are advertisements boasting vast bandwidth and one may ask, what for? But then this is human civilisation — it is defined by its wasteful expenditure, and by its mode of human connection Facebook, Skype, etc.

But Mills is an odd bod. All his civilisations are absurd, whether the amiable Fallowfielders, the Stalinist City of Scoffers, or the swaggering liberators. Mills has a different perspective; he looks on the modern world with wonder and bemusement; as would, I imagine, a citizen of ancient Uruk. From a sufficiently distant alien or ancient perspective, the modern world is innately bizarre. The economy is largely dependent on non-essential luxuries.


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His perspective is so distant he could be non-human. And it is true, though we would largely resent such judgement. One may, then, make a choice: in which absurdity does one feel at home? Some are easier to live in, seem closer to the natural shape of humanity, in all its disorder and flexibility and bodge.

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Smew, excellent name. Is there another Smew in literature? It is an ambitious book and the more pleasing as it is short and apparently light. We tend to associate ambition with page epics but one could just as well write a history of short, ambitious books. Home About Dabbler Editions. Go to The musicians live in the music hall: I walked up and found a large proportion of the orchestra sitting in three rows of hard seats. Thus the Postmaster General on the exceptionally slow postal system: Hitherto, such delays have been viewed as intrinsic to the postal system, the general assumption being that they are largely unavoidable.

The City of Scoffers is, by contrast, a highly-regulated place: The entire place ticked along like clockwork, and anything which jeopardised its smooth operation was dealt with immediately. Tags With: Novels. About Author Profile: Elberry. RIP Malty Oct, 15 First-rate Monsters — the Mapp and Lucia novels of E. Benson Jul, 05 Decline of the English barrister May, 25 Gaw says: I enjoy learning about these social shibboleths.

However, I'm convinced that only Nigel Andrew says: Neither have I, Worm - though, if you're interested, the very short A surreal portrait of a world that, although strange and distant, contains rather too many similarities to our own for the alien not to become brilliantly familiar and disturbingly close to home. It is comic writing at its best - and it is Magnus Mills's most ambitious, enjoyable and rewarding novel to date. His latest, a quirky mix of fairy tale and political satire, offers clear parallels between the fictional world and our own. The novel's unnamed narrator is the principal composer to the imperial court of a place called Greater Fallowfields, which bears about as much and as little resemblance to anywhere in the actual world as any of Mills' places and locations.

His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in London. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads.

Like Like. Do like the sound of the book, though. Strange that I never even heard of him because he seems right up my alley. Also, that cover alone would make pick it up — lovely! Any book in his back catalogue is worth a read. I have read his first four but not last and not this although I may ,he has a way of making the simple absurd and ordaniary situations turn into the surreal like with the working clas in his first and how to deal with unemployment with full scheme ,now he seems to have turn it to our empire and that is ripe for satire palin and some of the other pythons did a great comedy ripping yarns that in part was satire on empire ,all the best stu.

I absolutely adored this book, reviewed here, it came close to being my book of the year. Mills has become one of my favourite authors, and this is up with his best.

Tom Williams

I could have got mixed up, but I love his work at Bloomsbury, and thought it was his…. I believe the cover design is by David Mann, but the individual illustrations are by Anna Wray. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.

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