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A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In (edition 2012)

by Magnus Mills

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69None172,411 (3.88)10
Member:baroc
Title:A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In
Authors:Magnus Mills
Info:Bloomsbury Paperbacks (2012), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
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A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked in by Magnus Mills

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Furztrockener, absurder englischer Humor, die Pfanne dieses Humor ist so mausetot, mausetoter gehts gar nicht mehr. Faszinierend ist auch die unglaubliche Konsequenz, mit der Magnus Mills sich leichtfäustig durch seine Romane prügelt. Nicht sein allerbester (ich finde ja, seine Stärken liegen im Banalen, siehe: Maintenance of headway) aber immer noch ein amüsanter Roman von der Sorte, bei dem man während dem Lesen ab und zu innehält, den Kopf schräg hält, und die Stirn runzelt. ( )
  Wolfseule | Oct 15, 2013 |
Furztrockener, absurder englischer Humor, die Pfanne dieses Humor ist so mausetot, mausetoter gehts gar nicht mehr. Faszinierend ist auch die unglaubliche Konsequenz, mit der Magnus Mills sich leichtfäustig durch seine Romane prügelt. Nicht sein allerbester (ich finde ja, seine Stärken liegen im Banalen, siehe: Maintenance of headway) aber immer noch ein amüsanter Roman von der Sorte, bei dem man während dem Lesen ab und zu innehält, den Kopf schräg hält, und die Stirn runzelt. ( )
  Wolfseule | Oct 15, 2013 |
Furztrockener, absurder englischer Humor, die Pfanne dieses Humor ist so mausetot, mausetoter gehts gar nicht mehr. Faszinierend ist auch die unglaubliche Konsequenz, mit der Magnus Mills sich leichtfäustig durch seine Romane prügelt. Nicht sein allerbester (ich finde ja, seine Stärken liegen im Banalen, siehe: Maintenance of headway) aber immer noch ein amüsanter Roman von der Sorte, bei dem man während dem Lesen ab und zu innehält, den Kopf schräg hält, und die Stirn runzelt. ( )
  Wolfseule | Oct 15, 2013 |
The glorious (but somewhat tiny) empire Greater Fallowfields, which has built it’s supremacy on the notion that they sail better than anyone else, is crumbling. The emperor never returned from university, and business is now run by the rather inexperienced cabinet of advisors. Everybody lives on tick, the Royal Telescope won’t work unless you can find a sixpence to put in the slot and local mail can take weeks due to the postmen refusing to move breakfast. Our narrator has just been appointed Royal Composer, despite never having played a note. The cabinet is in fact all a rather petty and insecure bunch, spending more time trying to get the hang of things, rehearsing a tragedy they don’t understand or quarreling than actually ruling. And on the eastern horizon, where there’s nothing but those rather uninteresting “friendly cities” a cloud of smoke is drawing nearer and nearer.

Magnus Mills is a deeply original writer. I know nobody else with such a knack for finding those little things that make everyday life harder to deal with –convention, custom, bureaucracy, pettiness and obedience - and taking them to the subtly extreme. He’s a gentler, funnier, deadpan Kafka. He’s also a master at creating characters with very few pen strokes, and the way he manages such a large cast with distinctive voices and personalities with such a sparse, understated style is rather amazing.

This is a funny book, no question about that. But Magnus Mills is at his best when a quiet, slightly eerie quality shines through underneath. That, as sometimes is the case, it’s missing here. This is thus a much friendlier book than many of his others. It’s also, I must say, rather predictable as far as plots go. Also, with the fairytale-ish setting the satire that is often present in his work, is becoming much more underlined. There’s no question at all what tiny kingdom, dwelling on a heroic past when it ruled the waves, is referred to here. This is a must for us fans, of course. And also, I guess, not a bad introduction to Mills. Just know that the chuckles and cringes are usually a tad darker than this. ( )
1 vote GingerbreadMan | May 22, 2013 |
This novel is in Magnus Mills' usual sparse style, where every word counts and he has constructed another clever world and leads the reader by the hand through this strange, but familiar, world.
The plot seems very simple, but try and explain it and the complexity of it starts to emerge; the emperor has gone AWOL, new ministers are not necessarily up to the job and the empire is under threat. Some people seem aware of the threats, but others bury their heads in the sand. This gives plenty of opportunity for comic writing and wonderful situations.
The other review mentions that this novel seems to miss the dark side that other Magnus Mills novels have. Yes, this can seem a quirky fairytale sort of novel, but to me there is a dark theme throughout the novel about power, how it is abused, changes hands, but generally stays with the elite. ( )
  Tifi | Dec 30, 2011 |
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Far away, in the ancient empire of Greater Fallowfields, things are falling apart. But while the kingdom drifts, awaiting the return of the young emperor, who has gone abroad and communicates only by penny post, a sinister and unfamiliar enemy is getting closer and closer.… (more)

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