Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Mc-Pa)

Mills, Magnus

world novels equally restraint

(British, 1954– )

Mills came to public notice in 1998, when he became ‘the first bus driver to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize’ for his first novel, The Restraint of Beasts. The faintly patronizing publicity surrounding the book (the literary establishment treating him as a curiosity) unfortunately deflected attention from the work itself; The Restraint of Beasts is a peculiar, sinister, hilarious book about Scots labourers, experts in high-tensile fencing, and the odd world they inhabit. It is a world that is ever-so-slightly off-kilter, where nothing much happens (though it might at any moment) and where accidental violent death might just make you laugh out loud. Mills followed this up with three other novels, including the equally brilliant All Quiet on the Orient Express (1999) and the fable Three to See the King (2001). The world of All Quiet … (a campsite in the Lake District) is an equally odd one into which the first-person narrator (unnamed as in all Mills’ novels) is thrust as an outsider, an outsider almost able to understand his surroundings and to integrate himself, but not quite … There is also a delightful, tiny collection of short stories Only When the Sun Shines Brightly (1999).

Franz Kafka, James Kelman, Patrick McCabe  DHa

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