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Restraint of Beasts

Mills, Magnus

2,252 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0002257203 / ISBN 13: 9780002257206
Published by Harpercollins Uk, 1998
Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Browsers' Bookstore, CBA (Corvallis, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed. First Edition. Fine copy in wraps. Paperback original. 1st printing with full numberline. Signed by Mills on title page. Short-listed for Booker and Whitbread first novel. Blurb from Thomas Pynchon on rear cover. A Flamingo (imprint of Harpercollins) book. Though not marked, from the collection of Mel Waggoner, host of the public radio program "Profiles" which interviewed authors. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000087301

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Restraint of Beasts

Publisher: Harpercollins Uk

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Meet Tam and Richie: two dour Scots labourers. Clad in denim, work-shy, permanently discontented, intent on getting to the pub every night come hell or high water - in short, akin to your average British workers. But Tam and Richie, with their new supervisor, begin to display hidden depths.

Review:

Good fences may make good neighbors, but in Magnus Mills's first novel, bad fences make for high tension indeed. An eerie noir fable told in a grim, deadpan voice, The Restraint of Beasts begins as an unnamed English fence builder finds himself promoted to foreman over Tam and Richie, two undermotivated Scots laborers. They've just been sent out to fix a high-tension fence when events go horribly awry--and that's just the beginning. For the rest of the novel, as his charges drink, smoke, loaf, and pound the occasional post, things go wrong over and over again. In a sense, that's all you can truly rely on in Mills's fictional world. It is not giving away too much to say that with these particular fencers on the job, you'd best watch your back. And your front, for that matter. And maybe keep a firm eye on the skies, just in case.

The team travels south to England, where they live out of a damp, cold caravan in the town of Upper Bowland. They're soon at loggerheads with the sinister Hall brothers, whose business enterprises seem to combine fencing, butchering, sausage-making, and a fierce attachment to school meals. "We committed no end of good deeds!" cries John Hall. "Yet still we lost the school dinners! Always the authorities laying down some new requirement, one thing after another! This time is seems we must provide more living space. Very well! If that's the way they want it, we'll go on building fences for ever if necessary! We'll build pens and compounds and enclosures! And we'll make sure we never lose them again!"

In between placing Kafkaesque obstacles in his narrator's path, Mills seeds his debut with small, darkly comic touches: Tam's father, whom we last see erecting a stockade round his house "to stop you from coming home any more"; the sound of Richie's Black Sabbath tapes "slowly being stretched in an under-powered cassette player"; the caravan's encroaching squalor; An Early Bath for Thompson, the book that Richie tries without success to read. No doubt about it, The Restraint of Beasts is a strange novel that only grows stranger as it progresses; with luck, it augurs more brilliant, odd work from Mills. --Mary Park

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