'It's a matter of procedure,' I explained. 'Strictly for the record. You don't get sacked from this job unless you did what Thompson did.' 'What did he do then?' 'We never mention it.' In Magnus Mills' brilliant short novel he transports us into the bizarre world of the bus drivers who take us to work, to the supermarket, to the match and home ...
'It's a matter of procedure,' I explained. 'Strictly for the record. You don't get sacked from this job unless you did what Thompson did.' 'What did he do then?' 'We never mention it.' In Magnus Mills' brilliant short novel he transports us into the bizarre world of the bus drivers who take us to work, to the supermarket, to the match and home again. It is a strange but all too real universe in which 'the timetable' and 'maintenance of headway' are sacred, but where the routes can change with the click of an inspector's fingers and the helpless passengers are secondary. The journey from the southern outpost to the arch, the circus and the cross will seem as familiar as your regular route, but then Magnus Mills shows you the almost religious fervour which lies behind it, and how it is fine to be a little bit late but utterly unforgivable to be a moment early. 'To write one unique book is a rare achievement. The ability to produce several is truly special.' Independent
Publishers Weekly, 2015-03-09 An unnamed London bus driver offers a hilariously real view of the London bus service, with all of its bureaucratic absurdity, in this short novel from Man Booker finalist Mills (The Restraint of Beasts). The author is also a bus driver, which adds colorful authenticity to this wacky novel filled with goofy characters and madcap situations. The driver is a patient fellow, calmly accepting criticism from self-important, officious inspectors, who hand out offense chits for violations of the bus drivers' code, such as being too early, being too late, and, most importantly, failing to observe "the maintenance of headway" (i.e., not keeping the proper distance between buses on their scheduled runs). The narrator and his bus driver pals do everything they can to thwart the inspectors, all while complaining about their supervisors' incompetence, annoying passengers, inconvenient road work, inattentive bicyclists, and arrogant taxi drivers. The drivers justify their behavior by their unshakable belief in the Theory of Running Early and the Law of Cumulative Lateness-hilarious explanations of the bus service's futile attempts to choreograph bus movement. This sliver of life behind the wheel may seem silly, but it is consistently funny and perceptively portrays the plight of the little guy struggling to find sanity in an incomprehensible bureaucratic rat race. (May) ? Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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