Screwtop Thompson, By Magnus Mills

A god of small things

Magnus Mills's latest collection of stories explores the territory he's made his own: the strange banality of everyday life. There is a story about a sheet of plastic stuck on a viaduct wall; another about a boarding house where one guest keeps missing his meals and never meets the others. The title story concerns a toy, an overbearing cousin, a decapitated snowman and an act of revenge.

It's a world of small satisfactions and minor gripes, conveyed in plain, deliberately flat language (one story begins: "It was a dark and stormy night"), yet there hangs over these mundane events a Kafkaesque sense of eeriness and menace. My minor gripe is that this book isn't long enough – only 112 pages of large print.

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