Wednesday 28 July 2010

On The Buses

It started as a murmur and now appears to be getting louder. I refer to the current crop of blogs in which the great and the good seem to be falling out of love with the novel. Can this be true? Have our attention spans really been wiped so that all we can manage is the sports page of the paper and the occasional glossy? Now this humble outpost has never had any literary aspirations, however, I'm always on the look out for a good read, a new author, something that will capture my imagination. And the blogeratti always come good - I'm thinking of The Word's 'A Night In With' in particular.

So now I'd like to return the favour. Magnus Mills has a knack of creating ordinary characters, living ordinary lives, and observing them like we would observe leaf cutter ants in the garden. Novels like The Restraint Of Beasts and All Quiet On The Orient Express find Mills turning the prosaic into mini masterpieces. But the one I'd recommend to everyone is The Maintenance Of Headway. Taking a bunch of bus drivers and watching their every turn (quite literally) will transport you headlong into Mills' parallel universe. From The Arch to The Bejewelled Thoroughfare. To a world where the timetable is king. It's less than 200 pages and Amazon are practically giving it away. Like I said to Cocktails and ISBW - what have you got to lose?


  1. I'm a huge fan of these. The premise is always kind of nothing, but they're hugely entertaining. I don't know how he makes the mundane - fence posts, depots - so entertaining. A real skill as an author. One of my favourites.

  2. My copy is on its way, apparently.

    Word Ver: 'dossa'. Marvellous.