05 May 2010

Explorers Of The New Century - Magnus Mills

Explorers Of The New Century is a novel by Magnus Mills, orignially published in 1995. It's his fifth novel, and conforms perfectly to the style of Mills' previous works while maintaining a quite obvious distance. This style is a complex one. Mills has been compared to Kafka, and with good reason. Allegory, banality and comedy mix together in Mr Mills' prose, which is so descriptive and yet so deceptive. Don't miss a word - they're all important and, looking back once you've finished each novel, you'll see just how much a single, throwaway phrase can matter.

In the meantime, just enjoy the words. Mills conjures up a parallel world of Pinter-esque horror, situations far from modern reality and yet curiously reminiscent of normal, everyday life. I recently re-read Explorers Of The New Century in one afternoon. Once again, the progression of the story blew me away. It is allegory, pure and simple, although the actual meaning of the story is more difficult to define. Ostensibly about a simple expedition to the 'agreed farthest point', with the book even designed to look like a Victorian hardback adventure novel. And yet there's far more going on, hinted at with an underlying tension to the interactions between the characters. There are plot twists, too - great wrenching twists that you simply don't see coming at all. No spoilers, I'm afraid: you're going to have to read it.

Explorers Of The New Century was published in 1995 by Bloomsbury. Its ISBN is 0747580189 (Hardback), and I'm afraid that while it's in print and available to buy, Bookmooch copies are scarce.

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