The Restraint Of Beasts

The Restraint Of BeastsThe News Couldn T Be Worse For Tam, Richie And Their New Supervisor Mr McCrindle S Fence Has Gone Slack The Three Of Them Are Duly Dispatched To The McCrindle Farm, Where They Finish Off The Work, Then Go To England Where, After Rain Sodden Days Bashing In Fence Posts, They Wolf Down Baked Beans In Their Shared Caravan And Spend Their Evenings And Cash In The Local Pub But Then They Encounter The Hall Brothers Butchers, Rival Fencers And Local Heroes An entirely compelling novel Nonetheless, I am unable to tell you why It is about fence building, but it s not only about fence building I highly recommend reading it in one, but nothan two sittings, if time and life allow.P.s For those readers like me who see a laudatory Pynchon blurb on the cover and experience undergrad PTSD I know, I know, all my wise, well read friends I m in the minority However, I am confident I m not alone in my hate , fear not Nothing in this novel will An entirely compelling novel Nonetheless, I am unable to tell you why It is about fence building, but it s not only about fence building I highly recommend reading it in one, but nothan two sittings, if time and life allow.P.s For those readers like me who see a laudatory Pynchon blurb on the cover and experience undergrad PTSD I know, I know, all my wise, well read friends I m in the minority However, I am confident I m not alone in my hate , fear not Nothing in this novel will remind you of a Pynchon authored masterwork Here is a deadpan black comedy about three fencing contractors whose preference in life would be drinking pints of beer in a pub for 9 hours a day and working for 4 hours a day instead of the other way round You can tell it s a black comedy because when the occasional death occurs it brightens up the proceedings I did not lol, as they say, and indeed my own pan was dead throughout the reading of this novel, but inwardly where it counts I was smiling madly and guffawing gently There might be Here is a deadpan black comedy about three fencing contractors whose preference in life would be drinking pints of beer in a pub for 9 hours a day and working for 4 hours a day instead of the other way round You can tell it s a black comedy because when the occasional death occurs it brightens up the proceedings I did not lol, as they say, and indeed my own pan was dead throughout the reading of this novel, but inwardly where it counts I was smiling madly and guffawing gently There might be some metaphorical intention with regard to the continual erection of fences and the title of the novel, which refers to what the fences are for, but I have found that if you don t bother with metaphors they will not bother you The Restraint of Beasts is a novel about fencing Post and rail, chainlink, wire stretched to tension, chestnut paling, barbed wire, and electric fencing A novel about fencing the gang of fencers sent into England to erect high tensile fencing to separate the sheep from the sheep deep in the countryside.This has nothing to do with this book but after watching Danish dramas on TV it is hard not to mentally read the author s first name as Mawnus With such pronunciation all those lonely Gs must The Restraint of Beasts is a novel about fencing Post and rail, chainlink, wire stretched to tension, chestnut paling, barbed wire, and electric fencing A novel about fencing the gang of fencers sent into England to erect high tensile fencing to separate the sheep from the sheep deep in the countryside.This has nothing to do with this book but after watching Danish dramas on TV it is hard not to mentally read the author s first name as Mawnus With such pronunciation all those lonely Gs must be left with no place to go other than Greenland where they gather together, shivering and shuffling to keep a little warm.Which has nothing to do with this book the great fencing novel of our times, I read The Rise of Silas Lapham in the belief that it would be the great American accountancy novel only to be cruelly deceived, yet finally in the days of my middle age I have lived to see high tensile fencing finally achieve its place in the world of literature.None of which has anything to do with this book apart from the fencing that is fairly integral, if not structural.I remember when this book was published, well I don t, but I remember the publicity Magnus Mills had been working as a bus driver for London transport I imagine the novel forming itself as he drove around his route everyday view spoiler although for all I know the novel took shape as he sat after or before work with a sketch pad, his trusty smith corona, and a glass of water carefully half filled hide spoiler Everyday his supervisor warning him to keep to his schedule Everyday the traffic, the orderly queues at the bus stops all variable This might have something to do with this book Naturally this was a godsend for the publicists as it made for a better story than one of those monkeys with a type writer spontaneously duplicating the complete works of Shakespeare, since as everybody knows one of the unwritten rules that make up the British constitution is that bus drivers aren t novelists and so it came to pass that shortly after getting his first book deal he did chuck in the day job.Let me be careful, this isn t the kind of book to spoil by casually giving away the details of the plot, no, that is something to be done carefully, with forethought,and perhaps a touch of malice.The temptation is to describe this as a working class novel, the offspring of a casual encounter between Kafka and Robert Tressell Kafkaesque is an over used term, generally people seem to be peculiar in their own way rather than in his, perhaps however there is a hint of Kafka in the disruption that the senior Hall brother sees in Morag s presence, disturbing his bovine workforce, at the very end of the novel On the whole though this feels like a novel born out of the experience of working life There is micromanagement, psychological intimidation, domination as indeed is implied by the fact that this is a novel about fencing , and recruitment by means of sausages and beer It comes to spell constraint view spoiler On entering the office I saw that Donald had placed two hard chairs side by side facing his desk I d seen these hard chairs before They were slightly less than full adult size, made from wood, and spent most of the time stacked one on top of the other in the corner beside the filing cabinet That was where they d been earlier when I was talking to Donald I d hardly noticed them really They just looked as though they were intended to remain there indefinitely It never occurred to me that these two hard chairs were kept for a particular purpose They had been positioned squarely and symmetrically in front of the desk, and Tam and Richie did not have to be told where to sit.I went and stood by the small recessed window, half leaning against the radiator, which I noticed had been turned up full again There was one other change Donald had removed the light shade from the ceiling and replaced the usual hundred watt bulb with apowerful one This bathed every corner of the office in sharp light.Slowly and deliberately he settled in his chair for a few moments regarding Tam and Richie across the desk Mr McCrindle s fence has gone slack, he announced at last. p7 hide spoiler And what is fencing except physical constraint We go through a steady process of tightening, and it is all to no end, or rather constraint and restraining others is an end in itself The bare offices bespeak no ambition beyond holding the beasts in restraint Do you live to work, or work to live If you labour to obtain coin of the realm to spend on the drink that refreshes and inebriates then you alone might be immune to the madness of demarcation that lopes through the pages with lolling tongue.Narratively the style is fairly flat, occasionally my feeling was that the first person narrator a newly appointed fencing foreman, an Englishman amongst Scots, was withholding information The vocabulary is constrained, the voice consistent Curiosity tells me that readingof Mills novels would give me a feel for if he achieved something distinctive or if this is his natural narrative register.But this is not just a book about fencing, hungry as the world s readers are for chain link and feather edged panels It is also funny And when not funny then mildly surreal, but then when you come down to it fencing is a bit odd Magnus Mills has a style unlike any other author I know His deadpan narratives creep up on you so stealthily you are hypnotised into surrendering your disbelief to whatever bonkers twist and turn the story takes This is his best. Agricultural fencing may not seem the most promising subject for a black comedy, but this book is surprisingly funny and a very easy read.The English narrator is working for a Scottish high tensile fencing company, and has just been put in charge of a fencing gang whose other members are Tam and Richie, two truculent, lazy and hard drinking Scottish caricatures, one of whom is permanently in debt Their mean and ambitious boss is another caricature On their first job, the client farmer is accid Agricultural fencing may not seem the most promising subject for a black comedy, but this book is surprisingly funny and a very easy read.The English narrator is working for a Scottish high tensile fencing company, and has just been put in charge of a fencing gang whose other members are Tam and Richie, two truculent, lazy and hard drinking Scottish caricatures, one of whom is permanently in debt Their mean and ambitious boss is another caricature On their first job, the client farmer is accidentally killed, and they choose to bury him rather than report the death This sets the tone for much of what follows, as we follow them to an English backwater where it emerges that they are treading on the toes of a sinister local gang.A very enjoyable comic fantasy Even before we turn to the first page, Magnus Mills ensures he gets the ball rolling with a title that highlights many of the novel s thematic concerns Who exactly are the beasts, we hear ourselves asking who is restraining whom These existential questions build at a creeping pace, gaining in magnitude with every newly erected fence.The opening sequence of The Restraint of Beasts plunges us into mundanity, governed by dialogue rather than description, and written in a terse, dry tone that onl Even before we turn to the first page, Magnus Mills ensures he gets the ball rolling with a title that highlights many of the novel s thematic concerns Who exactly are the beasts, we hear ourselves asking who is restraining whom These existential questions build at a creeping pace, gaining in magnitude with every newly erected fence.The opening sequence of The Restraint of Beasts plunges us into mundanity, governed by dialogue rather than description, and written in a terse, dry tone that only heightens the monotony A fence needs redoing, we learn, and the work is pretty boring stuff, where characters Tam, Richie, and our unnamed narrator, labour under the watchful eye of Mr McCrindle Fifteen pages on, however, and we re confronted with our first untimely murder, in trademark Mills fashion As our narrator tells it Any distant observer of this scene would have probably assumed that the three figures standing by the new fence were in deep conversation about something In fact, there were only two participants in the conversation.Apparently, in Mills nightmarish yet altogether familiar world, the living and the dead cannot be distinguished, and this, of course, is the whole point We work tedious jobs, Mills seems to be saying, we squander meagre pay, and then we die an ironically banal death The novel s fencing metaphor proves particularly important here, confirming suspicions that it us who enact the role of beasts, restrained by back breaking societal norms.Needless to say, as the trio plod on to our narrator s homeland, such implicit ideas begin to take hold We realise that the torturous repetition is appeased, albeit temporarily, by trips to the pub, where smoking, drinking, and sexual encounters become commonplace However, these moments of escape create a warped cycle of punishment and reward in reality, freedom is never an option Mills captures this in subtle ways, from the repossession of Richie s guitar triggered by the same system that enables him to buy it , to the slow debilitation of our unknown narrator.Mills illustrates this permeating malaise well writing in a deceptively simple prose, which fires ammunition atconventionally descriptive language His characters too, adopt the everyday man persona that we see manifest in All Quiet on the Orient Express, and to our delight, themes in the latter appear to persist Many critics have paired Mills style with Franz Kafka, primarily in their shared ability to transcend unfortunate heroes into a state of powerlessness This is indicative of later chapters, as Mills layers dream like events with the ever constant grind of the capitalist machine And yet, it is possible that these surreal and absurd deaths are all part of the narrator s ultimate defence mechanism Perhaps, in the end, it is the imagination with its bizarre and comic twists, which provide our narrator with the power of both liberation and restraint I loved this one Set in Scotland with trips to England , but don t expect any descriptions of the places There are none This book is virtually all action and dialogue, which makes it an interesting study in technique The humor is dry, black, and if you like that kind of humor, the novel is comic If you don t like that kind of humor you ll spend the whole time wondering what in the hell is going on And what exactly happened in the book is the real mystery The book is an extended metaphor I loved this one Set in Scotland with trips to England , but don t expect any descriptions of the places There are none This book is virtually all action and dialogue, which makes it an interesting study in technique The humor is dry, black, and if you like that kind of humor, the novel is comic If you don t like that kind of humor you ll spend the whole time wondering what in the hell is going on And what exactly happened in the book is the real mystery The book is an extended metaphor for something, and that part of the pleasure of reading it is figuring out what that metaphor is In that sense the book might be too clever, but it is a quick read, and the writing is brilliant within its stylistic limitations Being both a music and book freak I sometimes wonder about the following when I walk into a music store I perfectly know where to dig my treasures I ll skip the German schlagers, the opera, musicals, country, rockabilly, indie, French chanson, crooner, happy hardcore and heavy metal sections and head right to the jazz, blues, world, hiphop, reggae, funk and flower power I invented the latter areas That leaves methan enough land to disc over.In the book store it s different Maybe beca Being both a music and book freak I sometimes wonder about the following when I walk into a music store I perfectly know where to dig my treasures I ll skip the German schlagers, the opera, musicals, country, rockabilly, indie, French chanson, crooner, happy hardcore and heavy metal sections and head right to the jazz, blues, world, hiphop, reggae, funk and flower power I invented the latter areas That leaves methan enough land to disc over.In the book store it s different Maybe because fiction is just one huge crumbeled pie ordered alphabetically,I have to check almost every shelve to make sure I won t miss out om my new favourite novel.On the internet where it s easier to explore genre by genre I wonder why I know so much better which music styles to avoid than which literature is just not my cup of tea It s like acknowleding Coldplay produce some fine music, but disliking it yourself I wish it were that simple with books knowing historical fiction or young adult is just never up your alley, so you can skip it blindly and move towards your favourite genres, cuz life is short But luckily there is always this exception, this unexpected revelation awaiting you As a result rating on Goodreads is different from rating on IMDB or allmusic.com We rate literature in a much broader sense than music consumers f.e jazz lovers will rarely rate RnB albums because literature seems less fragmented than music Anyway, The restraint of beasts was my literary Coldplay and me giving it 3 stars feels like being a skate kid giving 3 stars to Bach s Cello Suites by Rostropovich You rate the reading experience, not the actual book So imagine if this and similar novels Doggerland, Ben Smith had this sticker on the cover with a Beckett in the 21th century with deadpan humor I would be able to leave it untouched, because it just isn t my thing Altough maybe, just maybe, this would turn out to be the exception Aaargh, what the heck, I ll read it anyway Insomnia read and boy, was I surprised Yow More soon, but the darkness in this very short book sneaks up on you because part of the time you re laughing But it s there, all the same More to follow. 3.5 Deadpan, funny, and dark as f ck I greatly admire Mills for his ability to keep this book interesting and really quite compulsively readable despite the fact that it mostly details a trio of life s losers moving from one dead end job to another, with each of these setting the men ever further on their downward path to an end that Mills blessedly only hints at.

BOOKS ✭ The Restraint Of Beasts Author Magnus Mills – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 218 pages
  • The Restraint Of Beasts
  • Magnus Mills
  • English
  • 17 March 2018
  • 0006551149