The Field of the Cloth of Gold by Magnus Mills - review by Tom Williams

Tom Williams

This Blessed Plot

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

By

Bloomsbury 224pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

Magnus Mills’s new novel explores the interaction between man and land on a comically miniature scale. The entire story is set within a single field positioned deep in the bend of a river and bounded by wilderness to the north. There is nothing to distinguish this space from the neighbouring fields, yet it inspires reverence in its sparse group of inhabitants – none more so than Mills’s idealistic narrator, who revels in the tranquillity of ‘the Great Field’ and regards it as ‘a place chosen especially to fulfil its purpose; a place where momentous events would unfold and come to fruition’.

As in Mills’s previous book, the remarkable Swiftian fantasy A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In, here he has created another mythic, mercurial world, a utopia that increasingly reveals its own fragility. The narrator lives alongside a strange cast of characters who, one by one, have come

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