Monday, August 21, 2017

Mini College Review: A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In by Magnus Mills

Title: A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In
Author: Magnus Mills
Format: Hardcover, 276 pages
Pub. Date: September 2011
Source: Borrowed from professor

Book Description:

Far away, in the ancient empire of Greater Fallowfields, things are falling apart. The imperial orchestra is presided over by a conductor who has never played a note, the clocks are changed constantly to ensure that the sun always sets at five o' clock, and the Astronomer Royal is only able to use the observatory telescope when he can find a sixpence to put in its slot. But while the kingdom drifts, awaiting the return of the young emperor, who has gone abroad and communicates only by penny post, a sinister and unfamiliar enemy is getting closer and closer...A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In is Magnus Mills's most ambitious work to date. A surreal portrait of a world that, although strange and distant, contains rather too many similarities to our own for the alien not to become brilliantly familiar and disturbingly close to home. It is comic writing at its best - and it is Magnus Mills's most ambitious, enjoyable and rewarding novel to date.



This was a book that I had to read for my Modern British Fiction in college. I'd like to note that I have not read any other of Mills' books.

My review of it is going to be short and sweet, because I'm lacking words to describe this book. It's very unique stylistically. The plot has dark undertones but the tone is so light and nonchalant, it's a very odd mix. If a satire mated with a fairy tale and based it on the British, it would be this.

The writing is a lot of political and social commentary about Great Britain, as an American I'm sure some things went over my head. But there was a weird (in a good way) cast of characters that all circle around a ruler that is never actually in the book. It's amusing and confusing but makes you think and all and all I liked it but I can't exactly tell you why....

This is not a very helpful review, but, I say give it a go if you're thinking about reading it. It's worth it, especially if you enjoy your fantasy with large helpings of commentary.


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