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Three to See the King
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Three to See the King

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  905 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Living in a tin shack, on a great plain, with only the wind for company; what could be better? But with Mary Petrie rapidly turning your house into a home, and the charismatic Michael Hawkins enticing your neighbours away, suddenly there are choices to be made. Should you stay? Or join the exodus?
Paperback, 167 pages
Published June 4th 2001 by Flamingo (first published 2001)
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Sep 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I often have difficulty separating the book from the circumstances under which I read it. I read this while I was taking care of my father after his prostate surgery. His catheter got clogged, causing intense pain. He wasn’t able to climb into his own truck, a giant throaty Chevy, so I screamed on the front lawn until the neighbors came out, and one gave me his car to transport my father to the hospital. I threw him in the back seat and drove at high speeds across miles of country highway to the ...more
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fable
I’ve been in a rare and unsettling reading slump this week, during which I failed to properly get into The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International and The Sellout so instead read a large chunk of the internet. It was therefore a relief to pick up Three to See the King this evening and read it straight through. It’s very similar in tone, structure, and ambiguity to Mills’ more recent fables, A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In and T ...more
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pure genius and it was so close to home I'm sure he wrote it just for me. It's about a man who lives in a desert in a house of tin because he wants to get away from the world and listen to the rain hammering on his rooftop. This and that happens, and it turns into a cautionary tale about leadership. You have a vision and you build it on your own at first, then people join you and it's great for a while, but the more successful you get, the more people join, and they all make demands on you, and ...more
Inge Joosten
yeah I don't really think I got this one...
Anwen Hayward
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: the-poop-shelf
This book was an obvious allegory, yet I found that I was nowhere near interested enough to try and work out what the allegory might be. Religion, maybe? The hive mind of society? The prevailing importance of adhering to social hegemonic values? Who knows? Everything in it is clearly carefully designed to be a symbol for something else, or a metonym, but I just wasn't invested enough in the story to be bothered to decode them.

This is a short book. Some thinly crafted characters do some random t
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sparse, odd, funny, and, as the friend who recommended it to me said "I'm sure it's an allegory, I just don't know for what!"
Lars Poulsen
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tænk hvad vi var gået glip af, hvis ikke Magnus Mills, en tidligere buschauffør i London, havde parkeret bussen og fattet skrivemaskinen i stedet. Desværre foreligger kun hans første fire romaner på dansk.

"Tre mand og en konge" er den tredje af disse fire danske udgivelser. Den handler om en mand der bor i et hus af blik på en forblæst slette et ikke nærmere defineret sted. Han bor der alene, og får tiden til at gå med at lytte til blæsten mod huset og med at skovle det sand væk fra døren som vi
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Magnus Mills' Three to See the King isn't what you'd call a trying read. I finished it in the space of two brief train journeys. It's less than demanding, I suppose. Enjoyable, but no more so than reading one of those newspapers that are handed out at the station.

It's not a long work, nor a particularly interesting one. I understand that it's essentially a meditation on the role of faith in group dynamics, and I'm sure that it can be read in a much broader way than I've probably taken it... but
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I read Magnus Mills, I start asking myself, "who does he remind me of?" Finally I realize, he reminds me of...Magnus Mills. This is what I like about this author - his style is so unique, there is no one else to whom he can be compared. His characters, in all his books, live in a world very similar to our own; in fact, it is our own world to all intents and purposes, but there is always something slightly off, which creates a sense of foreboding, of something sinister lurking behind e ...more
Gumble's Yard
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
At the time, the least standard of Mills’s novels and the first not to be set in a work context – instead the book feels like a mix of: the male world of DIY and home improvement and building your own house (the interaction between the initial tin house owners, who enjoying inspecting and critiquing each other’s houses), a meditation on solitude/community, a parable of the Wizard of Oz (tin houses, strong winds, desert, a path which everyone follows) and part a satire on religious communities (w ...more
Geoff Wyss
No stars. This book is--startlingly--about even less than The Scheme for Full Employment. There are people in this book, but (through the first 50 pages, where I gave up) they don't act or talk or think like people, and they don't do anything that means anything or constitutes plot. A dreadfully unrewarding reading experience
Chris Shaffer
A one sitting religious allegory that ranks with anything I've read by Par Lagerkvist. An interesting study of group dynamics, how the individual finds his place in the world, and why it's not such a good idea to follow blindly.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't really get on with this. The sparseness of the setting and the narration made me yearn for a more eloquent, lyrical novel. Gosh, it has something to say about the nature of human beings but did I have to be thoroughly bored along the way?
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Marvellous, so good I'm going to share it with my book group next month.
Christian Schwoerke
I read Restraint of Beasts some time last year, and I appreciated it much more than I had All Quiet on the Orient Express, which I’d read about 10 years ago. Both of these previous Mills books were very funny, and I recall that each began with a simple first-person narrative, each beginning with in a simple matter of fact way, then things happened...

That formula is essentially what occurs in Three to See the King. The premise is not grounded in any known reality, but the way events develop, espe
Skuli Saeland
Húmorísk og snjöll saga af fólki sem býr út í auðn í blikkhúsum. Söguhetjan fann fyrir tilviljun tveggja hæða blikkhús og hefur sest þar að. Nágrannar hans sem búa í þægilegri fjarlægð líta mikið upp til hans og hann er sæll í fábreytilegri tilveru sinni. En brátt breytist allt. Kona nokkur bankar upp hjá honum og flytur inn til hans. Stormasamt samband þeirra og fregnir að annar Blikkkóngur búi fjær í auðninni sem fjöldi manns flykkist að í von um útópískt samfélag vekur öfund sögumannssins sem ...more
Kim Zinkowski
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A. Quirky. From the synopsis: "Part mystery, part parable, Three to See the King stalks the reader’s imagination and grows inexorably and irresistibly in the telling." I think I passed this to Sarah.
Robert J. Burdock
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
I first came across the author Magnus Mills when a lot of people were evangalising his novel - The Restraint of Beasts. Although I’ve still to add that title to my collection, I had the opportunity to pick up Three to See the King, so I could at least get a taste of Mills as a writer. I’m glad I did because Three to See the King is a nice little story and one that will stay wholly memorable with me for years to come.

Three to See the King is a fable told in first-person perspective. It’s about a
Vincent Hernot
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The more you read Mills, the more you understand Mills, the more you see what he's on about each and every time. And because his style is so deceptively simple, bare even, almost Beckettian, it's easy to miss the point, or points. It's easy to rush into thinking: so what? But don't: there is a what, there's a treasure trove of whats!
And this one is one of the best, really. It's wonderful.
The Restraint of beasts, The Scheme for full employment: those early novels focused on the conflict between s
Isabel (kittiwake)
Late in the afternoon Mary Petrie came outside with me to admire the new weathercock, which, she agreed, looked quite nice. I made no remarks about how unnecessary it was, nor did I point out that the wind showed no sign of abating. Instead I played the part to which I had become accustomed, in which a man remains master of his own home, so long as he observes all the rules

The protagonist of this tale is very happy living by himself in a tin house on a sandy plain. He only sees his neighbours, t
Perry Whitford
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A tin house, an allegory on progress and a case of Cherchez la femme in Magnus Mills' third comedic gem.

This time around Mills plonks his naive, nameless narrator into a house of tin perched alone on a sandy plain, with nothing but the buffeting winds and a vague dream of relocating to a tin house in a canyon to keep him company.

Then Mary Petrie arrives from nowhere and disrupts his "silly little tinpot life" as she calls it. He soon rationalizes his new circumstances, finding dubious comfort in
Ernest Rowe
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mills is one of the few authors any of whose books I can trust to be a good read. The trend continues here. The plot is, as expected, unusual, surreal - the 'odd disquiet' of the atmosphere which we have come to know from Mills verges on magic realism in its normal characters in a very not-normal setting. The writing is sparse and seems to have been written only where necessary. Aside from making it a short read, it also lends a terse texture to the dialogue which happens to drive Mills' deadpan ...more
John Pappas
Magnus Mills' allegory of a man who abandons his tin house to follow a messianic figure who wants to build a city of tin houses, only to return, is intriguing but not compelling. A critical portrait of idealistic certitude and those who follow without question, the book takes far too long to get moving, and lacks the punch that a more character-driven and less symbolically resonant novel may have. Perhaps it is his pacing that reminds me of Jim Krusoe's surreal narratives, or the cosmological co ...more
Feb 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a delightful little book. The narrator is living in a house made of tin, in a bleak and sparsely populated landscape. One day a woman turns up and moves in. He's not unhappy about this, although slightly discomfited by the changes she makes to his comfortable lifestyle. Meanwhile, his neighbours keep on about a man, Michael, who lives further up the valley, whom they first praise for his intelligence and grace, and who gradually achieves the status of a guru or messiah. Of course, eventu ...more
Betty Silvia
This was an enjoyable little book of just 164 pages. I enjoyed the simplicity of the writing style and the flow of the story from personal contentment to exploration, then coming to realize "There is no place like home".

The characters had just enough description to show their personality. Four neighbors lived solitary lives in tin houses on the plains with miles between their houses. I especially liked Simon Painter - the "social" neighbor who had a flag, a bell and a captive balloon at his hou
Marco Kunst
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zoals alle boeken van Magnus Mills een briljante uitvergroting van zwoegende, verdwaalde, als mieren rond redderende mensen die proberen iets bijzonders te verrichten, die proberen ergens iets van te maken. Vreselijk grappigen bevreemdend. Tamelijk autistisch, maar op een aangename manier.
In dit geval gaat het om mensen die wonen in een huis van blik als het hoogste ideaal zien - liefst onder in een diep ravijn, maar in eerste instantie heeft het ook zeker wat om op een verlaten, onherbergzame v
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting fable. An observation on the nature of wanting to belong but not wanting to be lost in the mass. There was a hollowness to its centre. The life of the main character was nicely observed but the alleged charisma of his supposed rival wasn't quite rounded enough, and the masses who flocked to him even less so. Perhaps if it had been a longer book this would have been resolved, but then again, perhaps there wasn't a longer book in it. It was diverting and charming in its strangeness, ...more
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For such is the way of this quite incredible author that the simplest of stories, told with a directness of style, has you turning the pages with increasing speed. It may be unbecoming to find a man whose work receives high praise from those of literary bent producing a novel that is a page turner but this book it just that. The third of Magnus Mills novels and once again he captivates in ways others either have overlooked or forgot. Whatever his secret I hope he continues to write what I think ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Where to begin on this book.
Who is Mary Petrie and what right does she have to move in and start controlling someone else's life.
How can the main character be selfish (mostly conceited) enough to be refuse amd reject his friends but cannot stand up to a woman who just moved in for no reason.

Sure you can read into the book and look at power, social relationships and individuality or lack thereof but, to me this book had no redeemable plot or characters. Whilst it wasn't a difficult read
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: weirdos like myself
Recommended to Allison by: David
This is a strange book written in a self-satisfied yet charmingly self-aware kind of shorthand. The spartan yet starkly intimate prose barrels you into odd almost sci fi parables of how people look to each other for philosophical clues and can quite naturally glom into societies around those who seem to have answers. By the ending (and its very nice payoff) you recognize that the classic storytelling has been there right along. I will have to read more from Magnus Mills.
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. man lives in tin house and sweeps sand [s] 10 50 Oct 26, 2015 05:57AM  
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