Three To See The King

Magnus Mills, Three

To See The King:

How indeed was I to pass the time until Simon left? Before now I’d seldom

been concerned with such questions. Existing in a house of tin was an end

unto itself, a particular state of being, and time didn’t come into it. You

did not need to know what time it was, for example, to witness dry lightning

as it flashed across the plain at dusk. Or to feel the threat of an approaching

storm. These things occurred independently of time, which was why there was

no clock in my house. I simply had no need for one. Nonethless, as I led Simon

back inside for breakfast, I realized that time was already beginning to slow


Rhian Salmon, South Atlantic:

Days on the ship are defined by meal times. In between, we have conversations,

play games, write, read, think and watch the wide ocean from the deck of the

ship. It’s like summer camp. It’s beautiful. There is time for everything: to

get to know people slowly, to be lighthearted, to socialise, to dissappear on

your own. It’s the perfect life in many ways since we also have a destination

and a purpose.

Read this book. It’s short and sweet and was recommended to me by two

friends whose opinions I don’t take lightly. I met Magnus Mills once on the

stairwell at Anna’s old place. He won’t remember me and I don’t suppose

he’d want to be remembered either. There’s a thread of that in this book

too. The peace in solitude, the timelessness. With little to do, my days

are filled frutifully and with satisfaction. I do not have the sense of

Time pressurising me continually. However at home, in the evening, I don’t

know what to do with myself in an empty house. I rattle and fuss and reach

for the phone. What is different here, where there is nothing I can do?

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6 Responses to Three To See The King

  1. Stefan says:

    So is this the first book on your reading list we will discuss? Then I shall go out and buy a copy. You are not allowed to get ahead in your reading, Rhian! And allow those of us still living among civilization’s many disctractions a 50 page per diem.

  2. Erika says:

    I bought a copy and will make it freely available to everyone here at Christmas. At the moment I am busy reading the books I intend to wrap up and give as gifts.

  3. Span says:

    I have two copies so anyone passing through the antipodes, do drop in for a literary duet.

    Quolls have just been re-released into the wild somwhere in…I forget…Victoria maybe, Australia nonetheless, and they look like cats with long noses. Have you seen any?

    And how about Quangles with hats and crumpety bits?

  4. Matthew says:

    i woke up this morning at 9, worried about how that was an hour later than usual. the train took 10 minutes to arrive, when it sometimes comes immediately. i only read three paragraphs of a bad vanity fair feature before i had to get off. how much time could i spend perusing various web sites before doing real work? could i spend half an hour on the times’ crossword?

    i am very jealous and to make myself feel better am going out to buy the mills book, too.

  5. Felix Salmon says:

    I’m glad everybody’s going out to buy the Mills book, ‘cos it’s great and deserves a wider readership. I also think it’s a wonderful book for Rhian to start with Ò the analogy of a house of tin to a seafaring vessel is obvious, now she mentions it, but never occured to me when I was reading the book the first time round. Now, I shall read it again… as soon as I can find it…

    As for how long it’s possible to spend perusng various websites before doing real work, Matthew, I can tell you from personal experience that the answer is pretty much indefinitely. Maybe after a couple of days one feels as though one can’t just point and click any more.

  6. Rhian says:

    Quolls. Penquolls we have. Emperors and Queens. They’re quite cute really but very shy. You have to bang suacepan lids together to wake them up and speak in french or zinza. No quangles. macaronis have orange crumpety bits and I have lots of hats. Does that count?

    Stephan, I apologise and feel suitably reprimanded. A rebrobate. Good word. Not relevant but good nonetheless. Yes, this was my first book. It’s very short and very sweet and yes. Next book, that I’ve started and am eating, is the latest by Dave Eggers (You Shall Know Our Velocity) but I don’t know if it’s out in paperback yet. Felix gave me a copy to bring with me. The cover is wonderful soft, worn cardboard, the pages are thick and soft and satisfying to turn and the text is a continuous stream of travelling thoughts in the style I like cos it’s not dissimilar to my daydreams. Don’t bother with this one if you didn’t like the first. He is the first author in a long time that can make my heart race while reading and it doesn’t matter what the topic is at all. Or if there even is a topic. If you haven’t read the first one, get that instead and we’ll compare notes. And no, I refuse to slow my reading down as it is staccatto and unplanned and I also don’t think anyone but you might actually achieve a 50 page per diem rate but I’m happy to keep revisiting whatever I’ve been savouring, whenever anyone gets there.

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