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Book report: The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills

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BOOK REPORT Book title: The Restraint of Beasts Author: Magnus Mills Published by: Flamingo Year of publication: 1999 LITERARY ANALYSIS Summary The I-person in the book is being put in charge of Tam and Ritchie, two fencers, just like him. He is to be their foreman because they need to be restraint in some way, when going to England for a job (the base of operation is in Scotland). Tam and Ritchie are always together and they are both not very hard workers. When the narrator is promoted as foreman of Tam and Ritchie, the two are halfway through a job at Mr. McCrindle's farm. The narrator's foreman duties start there. When Tam's tightening a final wire, something accidentally goes wrong and a tool ends up hitting Mr. McCrindle's head. "It was an accident", they say, and then bury him. Even though they're employer is no more, they finish the fence. Their next job is in England with Mr. Perkins. During the day Tam and Ritchie build the fences according to their boss, Donald, and Mr Perkins' wishes. However, in the evening they go to the local pub: "the Queens Head". Here they drink as much beer as their money will allow them to and this is about all they do. They hardly engage contact with anyone else. To their own surprise Tam and Ritchie are asked to build a fence for and by a Mr. ...read more.


I knew from my time with them that they could only work in the day if they had beer to look forward to at night." (p. 208 - 209) Ending The book ends very abruptly in Mr Hall's office. The last sentences are the following: "Mr Hall sat silently regarding us across his desk. The only sound was the endless churning of the sausage machine, somewhere in the depths of factory. My chair had begun to feel very uncomfortable. 'What people?' I asked. 'Well,' he said. 'Let's starts with Mr. McCrindle.'" (p. 215) It's very peculiar that Mr. Hall knows about Mr. McCrindle. The two men are in no way connected to one another. The only way Mr. Hall might know about Mr. McCrindle is through Donald. The preceding days were peculiar as well. The Hall brothers are very weird about their sausages, about the trio going out to the pub after six o'clock and about having women on the premises. I'm not sure of the meaning of this ending, and I'm not sure about what the Hall Brothers really are. What might have happened is that Donald found out about the death of Mr. McCrindle and Mr. Perkins and therefore arranged that Mr. Hall would 'dispose' of Tam, Ritchie and the narrator by putting them into sausages, and make them disappear. Then again, maybe the Hall Brothers are just psychopaths and eat people. ...read more.


But I don't fully understand the ending. As I said I wasn't sure what the Hall Brothers represented, but the book was rather enjoyable nonetheless. I thought their laziness was quite funny, but at the same time very irritating. Although in the beginning of the book I found it more irritating than in the end. This is probably because the narrator himself finds it (more) irritating in the beginning than in the end. Like I said in Point of view, the narrator's character seems to change along the story. The simplicity of this book is, to me, also the humour of it. It's a rather dark and dull sense of humour that goes at a slow pace. As a result I would be rather relaxed after every reading session. I reckon that one of the funniest parts in the book was Tam and his fertilizer sack: "On one of Tam's trips he seemed to take longer than usual to return, and we began to wonder what had happened to him. Finally, coming up the slope carrying a load of posts, we spotted what appeared to be a fertilizer sack on legs. It laid the posts out along the fence, ignoring us completely, and retreated down the hill again." (p. 87) Tam's irritating lameness also became very clear when the fertilizer bag had got wet and he simply hung it in the caravan. He did not bother to shake off the water whatsoever and by doing so making a total mess out of the interior of the caravan. This was also a rather funny event in my eyes. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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