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Three to See the King: reissued Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 240 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Novella-like in form, Magnus Mills' Three to See the King is an uneasy read that transports the reader to a unique fictional setting where the familiar is strangely unfamiliar. Known for his Kafka-esque nightmares, Mills tells the abstract fable of an unnamed man, living in isolation in a tin house, who must choose between a solitary existence and joining the mass exodus of his neighbours. Through simple, deadpan prose, a keen eye for human nature and abrasive wit, Mills not only captures the dull emptiness of the unimagined life but comments allegorically on solitude and society, religion and civilisation, labour and capital. Mills, whose other books include Booker-shortlisted The Restraint of Beasts and All Quiet on the Orient Express, is an absorbing, disturbing writer who is refining his observations with each new book. --Nicola Perry


"Always funny in a dry, leg-pulling way, it conceals its highbrow underpinnings with great charm" Sunday Times

"Compelling…Magnus Mills has created a spare but absorbing tale in which he handles weighty issues of charismatic leadership, blind faith, and the interdependence of human beings with a light, dexterous touch" Daily Mail

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 718 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (16 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054NPLNO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #248,162 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 3 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
'Three To See The King' is the third novel by Magnus Mills, and confirms his status as one of the most original voices writing prose in Britain today. His previous novels, 'The Restraint of Beasts' and 'All Quiet On The Orient Express' hinted at the direction that his future work would take, and it is pleasing to see that direction now followed so confidently and magnificently. 'Three To See The King' is a pure allegory for the way we function as individuals in societies. Mills builds a world free from references to the everyday world, references that always seemed unnecessary in 'All Quiet On The Orient Express', and instead shows us a distorted microcosm of our world. His narrator, lives on a plain in a house made of tin, he lives alone, his neighbours, all of them beyond the horizon, also live alone. All this changes however when Mary Petrie moves into his house and when his neighbours start to move away, drawn by the mysterious and enigmatic Michael Hawkins. The strange fable that ensues examines what happens to the free will of the individual when confronted with a totalitarian society, and what happens to such a regime when doctrine stirs dissent. It draws on many biblical references, but the main references seem to be to the parable of the man who builds his house on sand. In this parable the man is shown to be foolish in his actions for not building firmer foundations. Mills's treatment of this is complex. Was the man such a fool after all? His style in writing seems unique in Britain today, but it compares favourably to the allegorical style of Russian and former soviet writers such as Victor Pelevin. The use of fable and allegory to obliquely examine society's ills is highly reminiscent of Pelevin's short story collection 'The Blue Lantern'. A voice alone in British fiction, Magnus Mills is a novelist to be celebrated.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Magnus Mills is an expert at taking a simplle situation, then drawing you in so competely that you dont realise at first how things are slowly warping!

I think this is his best book - its short, but leaves a lasting impression far beyond many reads. The story is a man, who finds himself in his lifes dream of living simply in a tin house with a tin roof in what we assume is somewhere in America or Canada. Everything seems fine until one day a woman knocks on the door and just says "so this is where you have been hiding!"

The story, and then his life starts to unravel as she moves in and changes his dream in a very odd way.

If you like reading just for the hell of it, then give this book a go, it is fairly undescribable, but everyone I have lent this to agrees its great, if rather strange....
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Format: Paperback
This book is a treasure. In fact all Mills books are treasures. This book is not a long read but it's got a something( as all Mills books) that I find quite hard to define.
Mills writes with such originality, a quiet quirkiness that's more like a great artist or... like a Cohen brother's film. It's got a beautiful pace and this book is like reading a parable. His storylines are brilliant but understated. The names and detail of the characters are as always lovely.
This and all his books leave you with a strange feeling of childlike wonder.
You can always tell when a book has been written by Magnus Mills!
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By A Customer on 1 July 2001
Format: Paperback
I won't bury my head in the crevice of literary hyperbole that could make stories of Rosie and Jim seem like a metaphor, but ...
What a great read! I don't think i've ever read a book that had the effect on me that this did. It encapsulated Envy for me, imagined and real. The workings of the protagonists mind, and his thought processes seemed so similar to those that i have experienced, that i couldn't help but relate to the character and story.
The framework is brilliant, fantastic. I had a permenant smile on as i read this, and certain plot twists left me astounded both in simplicity and duplicity. If you were to ask me this book would come highly recommended, but i would suggest you have an afternoon free to read, because you won't want to put it down.
This is the first Magnus Mills book i have read, so i look forward to catching up with some of his previous work. Only six more sins to cover, Magnus ...
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Format: Paperback
This book was an obvious allegory, yet I found that I was nowhere near interested enough to try and work out what the allegory might be. Religion, maybe? The hive mind of society? The prevailing importance of adhering to social hegemonic values? Who knows? Everything in it is clearly carefully designed to be a symbol for something else, or a metonym, but I just wasn't invested enough in the story to be bothered to decode them.

This is a short book. Some thinly crafted characters do some random things for no real reason. There is a vague sense of events moving from A to B to C to some half-hearted resolution, somehow both anti-climactic and entirely unexpected; the entire latter half of the book seemed to be leading up to a more interesting climax, only to falter and fall flat in the very last sentence. It somehow manages to be a book that is neither plot-heavy nor a character study. The protagonist remains unnamed throughout, which is a device that can work if they are fleshed out in other means, such as having an actual personality. Other characters are always referred to by their full names, first and last, which again is an interesting technique that would have worked if they had ever been more than their names. Instead, they were just cardboard cut-outs, archetypes that moved across the plains of the book (literally, I am not just being poetic here) with no real motivation or characterisation.

For all intents and purposes, this book was marketed as a philosophical comedy, but there was precious little philosophy in it, and even less comedy. The author seems to think that punctuating every tenth sentence or so with an exclamation mark turns it into a punchline, without appearing to realise that a punchline usually follows a comedic remark of sorts.
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