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A Review of the Book, All Quiet On The Orient Express

Updated on February 25, 2018

A Review of the Book

All Quiet On The Orient Express is a novel written by British author Magnus Mills and was published in 1999. The author was originally a bus driver before he became a novelist and has written several novels and a few short stories.

This story is written in a simple style with lot's of dialogue - it is has a kind of deadpan humour about it. When I read this book several years ago I found it difficult to put down; it got my attention. Although it isn't everybody's cup of tea, I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you enjoy English humour you will probably like it too.


What's It About?

It's about a man travelling on his motorbike who stops at a campsite in the Lake District in England. It is the end of summer and all the other campers have left already. He intends to stay there only for a short while before he goes on a journey on the Orient Express train to the far east, and hopefully to India where he intends to do some backpacking.

He gets to know some of the people in the area and is asked by the owner of the campsite, Tommy Parker to paint a gate for him. Little does he know that this is the first of a seemingly endless number of tasks that he is requested to carry out by the slightly sinister Parker. He helps the owners daughter, Gail, with her homework, actually doing it for her.

His main diet seems to consist of baked beans supplemented with biscuits, but there is a problem at the local grocery store where the owner says he does not stock these items.


What Else Happens?

At night the narrator goes to the local pub for a few drinks but finds it difficult to be accepted by the locals there. However he does manage to join a darts team.

After being kicked off the darts team due to a misunderstanding he tries to leave. The weather is bad and his motorbike breaks down so he stays on.

Parker keeps asking him to do various thankless tasks which include sawing and replacing planks on a broken jetty, riveting corrugated iron sheets into a large shed and painting 7 rowing boats. Although he has paid his rent to stay in a place on the property, Parker does not seem to pay him for the jobs he's done. The other odd thing is that the narrator discovers that there is a system of credit at the store and the pub; there seems to be no hurry for him to pay his tab.

Mr Deakin, the milkman drowns in the lake while helping find a new mooring raft. The narrator takes on the job of delivering the milk every day. Because of his largely passive nature he has difficulty saying no to doing the many tasks he's requested to carry out.

He is warned by others to be careful about Parkers temper; there is an incident when Parker gets angry with something that goes wrong, losing his temper with the camper.

I found the book to be funny as well as a bit tragic and recommend it to those who like Mills' style of writing. I liked it more than his first book 'The Restraint of Beasts.'


A Video Review of 3 Books by Magnus Mills

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© 2013 David Edward Lynch

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