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Screwtop Thompson Hardcover – 4 Oct 2010

3.0 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (4 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408806533
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408806531
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.5 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 875,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

`Magnus Mills unerringly sharp eye for human foibles combines with a dry deadpan wit to create comic genius' --The Independent

`just as queer and brilliant as we were hoping. Mills's fictional universe is entirely unlike anyone else's going' --Dazed & Confused

`the most famous former bus driver in publishing...these shrewd and funny tales are perfect reading for your commute.' --Stylist

`Mills' subtle and deadpan literary sensibility inhabits a quiet world all of its own.' --The List

'a collection of clever little subversions of the moral fable, and they'll stay with you longer than many books ten times the size' --Metro Life

Book Description

All of Magnus Mills' darkly comic and hugely entertaining stories are here collected in one book for the first time
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'm not a fan of short stories in general, but I am a big fan of Magnus Mills. Some of his novels are not much longer than short stories anyway, so I decided to give these a go. I knew 8 of them had been published before (I read the description of the book before buying) but I hadn't read them so they were new to me.

These aren't so much short stories as micro stories, many of them only being a few (small) pages long. They all have the Mills hallmarks of a nameless narrator in fairly ordinary circumstances, such as hitchiking, visiting one's mother, and doing some work on a house. but there is always something uncomfortable, something left unsaid, lurking in the background and it is these things that make you think; What is it about the house that makes it so...creepy? Why is the mother shooting at the police? Where are the other guests in the eerie guesthouse? We are never really told, just as we aren't told things in any of his novels.

On the whole, I liked these stories. Some of them, however, seemed to me to be the start of longer pieces that Mr Mills had abandoned for some reason, and that he had adapted into these little gems. One or two of them were weaker than others, but as taste of what a Magnus Mills novel is like, this book is a nice morsal.

Just a word on the price. I would have been a bit miffed to pay the full £10 for this book as it takes no time to read. (it took me a little over two hours and that was with a half-time break!) Buy it off Amazon for less and it you might not feel so hard-done by when you finish it.
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By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I hadn't read anything by Mills before, but I found this little collection (and it is little - eleven short stories, most of which I gather have been published before) entrancing and will be looking for more now. He has a great knack of taking something very ordinary - a sheet of plastic caught on a railway viaduct, a boring meeting - giving it a quarter twist in an unexpected direction, and making something that's just strange and enthralling. There are few names in the stories. Most of them feature a nameless, genderless narrator, an 'I' who may or may not be quite what (s)he seems: so in 'The Comforter', the story of the meeting, the 'I' is assumed by the muddled archdeacon to be an architect but '... architect would be one way of describing me... I sort of plan things. Set things up.' The overall effect builds from one story to the next, as much a function of minute description and mood as any plot. It's hard to say too much about the stories themselves without undermining the effect, because sometimes he works this trick in the last sentences, leaving the reader wondering, but the one I enjoyed most was 'Vacant Possession' with its feeling that everything, or nothing, might happen after the story ends. I also loved the idea of the understaffed police station where the subject of the interrogation had to imagine the "bad cop".

This book is like a small selection of rare chocolates, perfect for a quick story binge but not enough to fill. Definitely recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I kept reading through these short stories hoping that something would happen and it never did. No surprise endings, no twists and no real surprises.

It is all quite pleasant and some of the stories are intriguing but this collection was pretty pointless.
The value for money was severely lacking as it's extremely short, there aren't many words to the page and many of the stories have already been published.
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Format: Hardcover
Magnus Mills first novel, The Restraint of Beasts (1998) was a wonderful creation, comic and tragic at the same time, portraying an episode in the life of two fencing contractors Tam and Richie and their un-named supervisor. A deceptively simple read, it addressed issues of crime and punishment in a setting quite unlike anything I have read before and I was not alone in finding it stayed in my mind long after I'd finished it. I have since reread it several times and find it equally beguiling every time. Other books and short story collections have followed, but nothing has quite equalled The Restraint of Beasts, but I now read everything by Mills in order to capture something of the magic of The Restraint of Beasts - and there is usually just enough there to keep me reading him.

In Mills' story collection Screwtop Thompson, ordinary things happen to ordinary people, but the effect is sinister and unsettling. His characters seem to live stilted emotional lives with a preference for home and the routines of a boring job. Humour is never far from the surface, but the reader laughs in an uneasy way, never quite short whether he is on safe territory or not. His characters love the everyday and the routines that support them, but they seem to be locked into situations that ultimately do them no good and from which they would best advised to get out of as quickly as they can.

Screwtop Thompson is a bit of a disappointment - because only three of the stories are new, the other eight having been published before But here and there we catch enough of Mills' sideways-on humour to keep us reading on - and waiting in hope for the next offering.

I will just take one story to try to capture a little of the flavour of this collection.
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