The Maintenance of Headway (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

There's something weirdly cozy about Mills' workaday absurdism. I probably read the entire book wearing an oblivious and stupid grin. I loved every minute I had with these amiably suffering impotents, these cogs in a long-broken machine. There is a guileful system or anti-system at work here, bent on an agenda of cognitive amputation, of excising free will or at least utterly undermining the reason of our heroes. But always they soldier on, determined with good humor to find the position of least discomfort beneath the threatening, evil clouds of entropy.

— From Adam


From the Booker-shortlisted author acclaimed as having "no literary precedent" (Independent) comes a gently absurd examination of the systems that trap and frustrate us daily. Fans of dry humor will enjoy this tale of mishap and folly, told from the point of view of a bus driver who's been charged to maintain a precise distance between himself and other buses--a directive that leads him to ignore the very passengers he's meant to serve.

Witty, allegorical, and intelligent, this is a novel for all those who have ever run for a bus, only to have it pull away as they reach its doors. Showcasing all of Mills' strengths, it is the perfect reintroduction for American readers to an incomparable talent.

About the Author

Magnus Mills, a bus driver by trade, is the author of seven novels and three collections of stories, which he types on a typewriter. He doesn't have an email account, and corresponds by postcard. His first novel, The Restraint of Beasts, won the McKitterick Prize and was shortlisted for both the Whitbread (now the Costa) First Novel Award and the Man Booker Prize. It was praised by Thomas Pynchon as "A demented, deadpan comic wonder." Mills' books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in London.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781632860361
ISBN-10: 1632860368
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
Pages: 160
Language: English