27 Down, 25 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)

The Restraint of Beasts is a sharp little novel brimming with equal amounts gallows humour and stiff upper lip. Set in smalltown Scotland and England, our nameless English narrator remains unerring unflappable amidst accidental deaths and karaoke nights at the local pub.

Tam and Richie are Scottish fencers (as in they put up fences) with a less-than-stellar work ethic and our narrator the hapless foreman who must take charge of them as they travel to England for a job. Plagued by wet weather, a rising casualty rate and an irate sausage mogul with a suspect supply of mystery meat, our heroes’ greatest concern is getting their pints in the evening, right up to the end when they are about to discover exactly what beasts the seven-foot electric fences they’re setting up are meant to contain.

A bit of light humour set in working class Britain ala The Full Monty (substituting the feel-good factor for the odd manslaughter), Magnus Mills’ The Restraint of Beasts is an enjoyable enough read, not sure why it warrants a Booker Prize nomination, but still an entertaining trod nonetheless.

The Restraint of Beasts
(ISBN No: 0006551149 ) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

My next book will be Haruki Murakami’s Dance Dance Dance.

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