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ALL QUIET ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS Paperback – Jan 1 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: FLAMINGO (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006551858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006551850
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.1 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 122 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,168,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
An unnamed narrator tells us he's about to embark on a quest to visit the Orient but he must, he explains, get his scooter repaired so he waits in a sort of limbo at pastoral campsite on the edges of a small town that is lorded over by the imperious Mr. Parker, a capitalistic patriarch who is at the center of all the town's commerce. Mr. Parker has a lovely daughter who arouses our narrator's senses but merely titilates him. One mishap after another makes the narrator feel obliged to stay longer in the town even though he keeps reminding us--and himself--that he wants to break free and begin his exotic travels. His major impediment to leaving, he would have us believe, is Mr. Parker, a brutal, intimidating man who demands that the narrator do all sorts of chores and odd-jobs for him, but gradually we realize that the narrator is afraid to adventure out of his comfort zone and would rather live in the relative prison of Mr. Parker's campsite tent, with its severely limiting rules, than inch his way into the flux of the vital, real, outside world. Thus the novel's theme is the conflict between our need to branch out and challenge ourselves vs. our tendency to roll up into the fetal position and die a spiritual death in our tiny world of comfort and familiarity. This theme is further explored in Mills' subsequent novel Three to See the King.
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Format: Paperback
There?s something about British humor that no other English-language literature will ever be able to supplant. The narrator -- whose name we never learn -- is a young odd-jobs-man who is presently on holiday with his motorbike and tent in the Lake District. It?s late summer, he?s been at the campground a week, and he?s about to depart, when Tommy Parker offers him a bit of temporary employment painting the front gate. One thing leads to another, and the narrator finds himself responsible for painting a flock of rowboats, cutting firewood (on loan, as Mr. Parker seems to have rented him out), spending his evenings at the local pub (where he?s recruited for the darts team), and being drafted by 15-year-old Gail Parker to do her homework. But money almost never changes hands. Everyone in the area knows everything about everyone else -- including him, he discovers. And then Mr. Deakin, the milkman disappears into the lake while helping locate the new mooring raft, and the narrator finds himself with the milk route, as well. The story is perfectly deadpan, in a very sly, droll way, and the effect is cumulative and almost Hitchcockian -- especially the last page! Even though one might get annoyed with the narrator for allowing himself to be so thoroughly taken advantage of, this is a most delightful yarn.
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Format: Hardcover
I love the way in which Mills describes very little of the people in the book. Every image which comes to mind is our own creation. The image of the chap who wears the cardboard crown everywhere is very amusing!
This story - about nothing really - grabs you the reader and sweeps you along with its treatment of mundane activities and the way in which each seemingly normal event takes on sinister undertones.
reat little book. Every bit as good as The Restraint of Beasts!
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the other reviews, but only up to a point. That point is the ending, in which the poor, put-upon kick-me-Charley sudddenly turns sinister. This raises some questions: WHY is he so acquiescent? Why has nobody ever heard of him, at the place he said he previously worked? Doesn't anyone see the connection (so to speak) between the chain in the first man's death, and the last line? I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say that this book reminds me of the movie "BlowUp," though it's nowhere near as good. I gave the book only 2 stars because I think it's a little too subtle for its own good. Like people who hide Easter eggs so cleverly that no one can find them, the author is so low-key that it's hard to realize what he's getting at.
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Format: Paperback
I really didn't feel that they was much of a plot to this story but what surprised me is how I was able to read it during one weekend and it actually held my interest. Our unnamed hero is virtually thrown into bondage after painting a fence for the campground owner where he was supposed to be on Holiday. He is given more odd jobs by his landlord and is eventually roped into doing his daughters homework. He plays darts at the pub and is on and off the dart team at will. The town locals extend credit to him but his landlord never makes any mention to his wages. He eventually takes over the milk route after the death of the current milkman and nobody seems to question the circumstances of the milkman's death. I have many unanswered questions about this book and the ending but I do recommend reading it.
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Format: Paperback
In echoing the title of Erich Maria Remarque's novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Magnus Mills has deepened and darkened, quite considerably, the meaning and metaphor of his book. In this Mills has placed an insistent and nagging theme: waste, the wasting of lives, which serves to spur the reader (if not the protragonist). The trajedy of Remarque's novel is that young men pushed into events beyond their control had their lives and potential cut short. The trajedy of Mills' novel is the protragonist getting himself pushed into endless menial and thankless tasks at the cost of his ambition to travel east. He lacks the insight to disengage himself. He has that chance; the young men in Remarque's novel, the young men who died in the Great War, DIDN'T. Though Mills' metaphor of 'capital and labour' is compelling, his genius here lies in his conscience.
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