The other day I was checking if any of my fave authors have new books out.
Everything is here: the merchants on the Rialto and the Jews in the ghetto; the mosaics of St Mark’s and the glass blowers of Murano; the carnival masks and the sad colonies of lepers; and, the doges and the destitute and the artists with their passion for colour and form – Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo. There are wars and sieges, scandals and seductions, fountains playing in deserted squares and crowds thronging the markets.
And a new book called Maintenance of the headway by Magnus Mills! Ah Magnus. Thomas Pynchon called him a demented, deadpan comic wonder. And he ain’t wrong. The Mills humour is so dry it’s positively desiccated. His unique style features pithy tales laden with black humour where people are pitted against mad processes. Bureaucracy gone mad.
For a good example of this, there’s his book The Scheme for Full Employment. The Independent reviewed it thus:
The story concerns a mythical Scheme whereby people are employed to drive “Univans” around all day, delivering and picking up crates. The narrator is on a circuit of seven depots and spends eight hours a day shuttling back and forth. It’s only about a third of the way through that we discover what’s in the crates: spare parts for the Univans. The work is light, agreeable and well-paid, and everyone’s very thankful to be on the Scheme: “It’s like being in a great big feather bed.”
Much is made of the fact that Brummie born Mills once drove buses for a living (read all about it in the article Why my career is back on route). And find out more about Magnus from his publisher Bloomsbury.
I reckon there’s a shortage of authors writing funny stuff so Magnus is a real catch. Can’t hardly wait to read his newbie.