Nominated by:

Tampere City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bloomsbury Publishing, UK

A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In

Magnus Mills    

2013 Longlist

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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Magnus Mills is the author of The Restraint of Beasts, which won the McKitterick Prize and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1998, and of five other novels, including the Scheme for full Employment, and of the story collection Screwtop Thompson. He lives in London.

Librarian’s Comments

A veritable treasure trove of a novel – imaginative, absurd, captivating, irrestible. Like Lewis Carroll, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka and Flann O’Brien rolled into one – and then some (and then some more). Simply superb!

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