Nick Sweeney's Reviews > All Quiet on the Orient Express

All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills
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Apr 03, 12

Read in March, 2012

I'd only ever read MM's The Restraint of Beasts, and had enjoyed that a lot, with its story of the everyday turning weird for a few ordinary blokes stuck in a particular situation. This book revisits similar territory: the un-named narrator, an unassuming bloke in his late twenties/early thirties, is killing a bit of time before setting off on a trip to India, and is camping in the Lake District. The owner of the campsite suggests he do a few odd jobs around his farm, and suddenly our narrator is fitting in to village life with its mean-minded business deals and rivalries, pub gossip and a certain sense of a dead end. MM is skilful in giving the reader a genuine sense of nightmare - the main character seems to take it all in his stride, despite the certainty that he'll be trapped in the village and will abandon his trip to be at the casual mercies of the village's small economy, its casually bullying characters and the tiny world it creates. A disturbing read, but underpinned by just enough moments of humour.
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