“Tales of Muffled Oars,” by Magnus Mills

Novel, 2020

Familiar Mills territory, with groups of men meeting in pubs. In this book, they’re following history, with seemingly and mysteriously time travelling Macauley, Hogarth and Swift delivering talks in which England at peace is discussed, to the exclusion of any conflict or murder. This simple idea is backed with clear, simple writing, all of which covers and discusses some hefty questions about the creation and dissemination of history. As good a place to start with Mills as any – the world of pubs, ‘extra-ordinary, extraordinary characters and gangs working away from the centre of the story are very much to the fore in a book which is often funny and very compelling. Quirky and distinctive; very readable and more-ish.

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