The protagonist in this story is an interesting character He stays on at a vacation spot well past the season and ends up taking on odd jobs for the owner He seems to need some direction in his life and apparently hopes to find it in this small town. I liked the characters in this novel This is my favourite set out of the three tomes I have read by this author Having said that I can see a trend emerging here There are the workers, who tend to be deadpan, exploited by management, living in caravans, short of money, prone to killing people, hardworking and pub dwelling Then there are the managers who tend to be exploitative, money focused, gregarious and sinister Then we have the minor characters, who are a mixed bunch but tend to be pr I liked the characters in this novel This is my favourite set out of the three tomes I have read by this author Having said that I can see a trend emerging here There are the workers, who tend to be deadpan, exploited by management, living in caravans, short of money, prone to killing people, hardworking and pub dwelling Then there are the managers who tend to be exploitative, money focused, gregarious and sinister Then we have the minor characters, who are a mixed bunch but tend to be private, obfuscated, blocking, suspicious people with the exception of the kind ones who nevertheless tend to have their own agenda Most of them are believable apart from one or two minor characters who seem to have hidden agendas that the reader has to guess or imply from actions I don t think this author sets out to make his characters likeable he seems to leave it up the reader to decide this on the basis of their own prejudices The main character protagonist worker tends to be the most rounded apart from the obfuscated parts the antagonist is that the right word is not rounded out at all in the sense that we hardly at all get to know why he is the way he is and acts the way he does and the minor characters are mainly stereotypes designed to get in the way Having said that, this author s stereotypes are kind of twisted, e.g the shopkeeper who will not sell baked beans or let on that he has a wide range of biscuits Why Who knows The book is rather nicely plotted in that it seems to be well thought through, with each scene contributing well to the ultimate resolution of the plot I ve never really read a story like this with the possible exception of other Magnus Mills stories The plotting is therefore original in that it occupies a realm of the authors own design that is almost, but not quite like the Lake District in England It s like a shadow realm occupied by reptiles masquerading as people.The narrative structure is clear and logical, but seems to have its own logic that is slightly different to the one we use in this world For example no one seems to bat an eyelid if someone dies There is no evidence of a police force or, come to think of it a fire department or ambulance service It is as if each town in a Magnus Mills novel is a self sufficient unit where law is monitored and administered by the people within it, who have their own ideas of right and wrong and don t need anyone to tell them any different There s a bit of a Stepford Wives feel to these places Having said that everything that is meant to be clear is clear and if it is not clear then the author probably intended it to be so.The message of this book seems to be that outsiders are tolerated up until a point, but have to earn the trust of the community into which they come by a process of trial and error They are expected to deduce how they should act on the basis of how people treat them and react to the things that they do This makes for a memorable message that may not be quite normal, but is feasible under certain circumstances, i.e the ones in this novel There is also the message that bosses are not to be trusted running through not just this book, but all those that I have read by this author this one, Screwtop Thompson and Other Tales and The Restraint of Beasts.The language in this book is simple, as is the narrative style There are no long words, imaginative metaphors or made up verbs here Everything is pitched towards the average reader Having said that, the style is original in that there are no clich s employed This is a slightly different world from that which we normally occupy and although it is described in normal words, they combine to produce something quite unique and extraordinary Magnus Mills has a style all of his own There s no poetry here The dialogue does not employ colloquial words to make us think of people in a particular region The style is rather neutral deadpan even Very subtle and understated Yes.Spelling, grammar and punctuation is impeccable.None of the above expresses whether I enjoyed the novel or not I did Very much.I read this book as part of a Book Club thing and that is why this review is such a departure for me.I ve recorded everything under distinct headings so that I can remember all of this when the rest of the Book Club members get around to reading this The headings are 1 Characters round believable likeable 2 Plot original well thought through 3 Narrative structure logical clear 4 Message clear memorable 5 Language and style simple vs complicated original vs cliched poetic vs neutral vs colloquial 6 Grammar, spelling and punctuation A book where the whole point is that nothing really happens and it s absolutely irresistible because of it. It isn t true to say, as the blurb does, that Mills invented the Kafkaesque novel of work singlehandedly Paul Auster might feasibly claim this, specifically the burdensome wall building in The Music of Chance I suspect that Kafka would regard his own handling of work in something like The Castle to be an earlier origin still, and that would leave Kafkaesque novel of work as a tautology Mills debt to Auster is evident in his constant use of first person picaresque narrators, usually It isn t true to say, as the blurb does, that Mills invented the Kafkaesque novel of work singlehandedly Paul Auster might feasibly claim this, specifically the burdensome wall building in The Music of Chance I suspect that Kafka would regard his own handling of work in something like The Castle to be an earlier origin still, and that would leave Kafkaesque novel of work as a tautology Mills debt to Auster is evident in his constant use of first person picaresque narrators, usually innocents in a vaguely threatening and tenuous fish out of water circumstances involving pressing personal obligations, the ever present unspoken danger of causing offence, and so on From Auster we could trace a line back to Beckett and the Absurdists, including Borges and even Donald Barthelme However, the major difference in all this is Mills use of the anti romantic, anti pastoral scenario set in England, and his intimate familiarity with the puzzle pieces he employs If there s a breeze block involved, Mills knows the heft, the price in pounds and pennies, the casting, the material and the place that sells it His dialog is a beautifully British brand of the deadpan used so effectively by Richard Brautigan In this Britishness his work is closest to the sinister Moorland passages of the film An American Werewolf in London or the lake district inhabited by Jake the poacher in Withnail and I, rather than, as some have suggested, the gothic burlesque of the League of Gentlemen While it cannot claim a priceless comic double act to compare with the wonderfully, desperately futile Tam and Richie in The Restraint of Beasts, All Quiet is the perfectly balanced extension of this unique style in early Mills a kind of grim caravan park from which Mills now seems to be struggling to discover an exit Just as wonderful and wry as I d hoped for Highly recommended. One of the best books I ve ever read and I don t know why It s a story where nothing really happens but it keeps you entertained The last chapter is great LOVED IT One of the best books I ve ever read and I don t know why It s a story where nothing really happens but it keeps you entertained The last chapter is great LOVED IT Review after first reading December 2008 When I read this book I never knew if it was just a funny and well written slapstick or a deep, profound and meaningful analogy for life, the universe and the rest I still don t know So I got two really good books for the price of one Consequently I would have to give ten stars Review after second reading August 2011 Sometimes the usual praises on the first pages of a novel are worth reading Like in this case Mills has the skill to make his dia Review after first reading December 2008 When I read this book I never knew if it was just a funny and well written slapstick or a deep, profound and meaningful analogy for life, the universe and the rest I still don t know So I got two really good books for the price of one Consequently I would have to give ten stars Review after second reading August 2011 Sometimes the usual praises on the first pages of a novel are worth reading Like in this case Mills has the skill to make his dialogue ring completely true and at the same time to freight the most apparently banal comment with surreal overtones His transparent, elegant prose is deceptively simple and a pleasure to read Kate Owen, Evening Standard page IV Mills has the skill to make his dialogue ring completely true and at the same time to freight the most apparently banal comment with surreal overtones His transparent, elegant prose is deceptively simple and a pleasure to read Yorkshire Post page V Or in my own words Mills does have the skill to make his dialogue ring completely true and at the same time to freight the most apparently banal comment with surreal overtones His transparent, elegant prose is deceptively simple and a pleasure to read A masterpiece Kafka would have been proud Wondering why I was reading this bizarre tale of everyday Lake District life, I kept waiting for something substantive to happen and when it did, it hit like a sledgehammer Rarely has a book had that impact A collision with my sensibilities and my world perception which lingered for an age afterwards I simply could not stop thinking about it Parable, metaphor, allegory, or shaggy dog story I simply don t know I spent the following month wondering A masterpiece Kafka would have been proud Wondering why I was reading this bizarre tale of everyday Lake District life, I kept waiting for something substantive to happen and when it did, it hit like a sledgehammer Rarely has a book had that impact A collision with my sensibilities and my world perception which lingered for an age afterwards I simply could not stop thinking about it Parable, metaphor, allegory, or shaggy dog story I simply don t know I spent the following month wondering how he did it Magnus, whoever you are, whether magus, magician or writer, however you did what you did to me, I salute you If Evelyn Waugh and Alan Garner had collaborated on the book on which the script for Wicker Man was based, this may be the result.A hard one to shelve, as it turns out Gothic, but modern and quite light Funny, but not in a humorous way Weird, but not fantastic, eerie but without anything sinister I ve rarely come across an author who can so successfully create an atmosphere without ever showing a concrete reason for it The book that was tugging at the edges of my memory the most was Evelyn If Evelyn Waugh and Alan Garner had collaborated on the book on which the script for Wicker Man was based, this may be the result.A hard one to shelve, as it turns out Gothic, but modern and quite light Funny, but not in a humorous way Weird, but not fantastic, eerie but without anything sinister I ve rarely come across an author who can so successfully create an atmosphere without ever showing a concrete reason for it The book that was tugging at the edges of my memory the most was Evelyn Waugh s A Handful of Dust A long, thin thread of inevitability ran through this narrative, a distant thrumming hint of something s not right But what The tradition of sinister English villages and their tight lipped, staring inhabitants is an old one, and a classic gothic crutch Here, our somewhat gormless hero or is he slides beneath the surface of life in this place as easily as another man might slide beneath the surface of a lake The chain of obligation, of nothing else to do, drags him under, and he finds himself staying on, and on, for a week, then another, then just until Christmas He ceases to be a tourist, an oddity, a burden to bear, and begins to be a member of the crowd, a teammate, an odd job man, a friend.There is sinister implication everywhere, but none of it ever rises up to meet him, and he, for the most part, does not seem to notice it at all It is a quiet genius of a book, and I will definitely be seeking outof Magnus Mills s work to inhale in one quick gulp Hykerrytt v n hauska ja hiipiv n kammottava romaaniEnglantilainen Magnus Mills kirjoittaa mustan huumorin kyll st mi romaaneja, joista ei kannata liikaa kertoa etuk teenNiinp me kerromme vain t m n Ei mit n uutta id n pikajunasta kertoo pienest englantilaisesta j rvikaupungista, jonne kertoja saapuu lomailemaan moottoripy r ll n H n aikoo viipy siell viikon ennen kuin l htee Intiaan Mutta kun leirint alueen omistaja Tommy Parker pyyt h nt palveluksena maalaamaan porttinsa, kertoja tekee el m ns virheen h n suostuu