Author(s): Magnus Mills
'He has no literary precedent, and he also appears to have no imitators. He mines a seam that no one else touches on, every sentence in every book having a Magnus Mills ring to it that no other writer could produce' - Independent.
In "Hark the Herald", a guest stays at an eerie guesthouse over Christmas without encountering any other residents, despite constant reassurance from the landlord that he would see them if only he arrived for breakfast slightly earlier;
in "Only When the Sun Shines Brightly", Aesop's fable about a competition between the Sun and the Wind to get a man to take his coat off, gets a new look involving a railway arch, a builder and a piece of plastic sheeting; and,
in "Once in a Blue Moon", a man arrives home to find the family house under siege, with his mother armed, dangerous and firing at the police with a shotgun, and attempts to appease her with an invitation to seasonal hospitality.
In the title story, rivalry between three cousins over a faulty toy gets out of hand as the cousins unwittingly imitate the toy they're fighting over. Magnus Mills has published two collections of stories - Only When the Sun Shines Brightly and Once in a Blue Moon - which are collected here together with four new stories for the first time to make a set of twelve.
Magnus Mills is the author of five novels, including The Restraint of Beasts, which won the McKitterick Prize and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread (now the Costa) First Novel Award in 1999. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in London.