All Quiet on the Orient Express

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All Quiet on the Orient Express
First edition (UK)
AuthorMagnus Mills
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherFlamingo (UK)
Arcade (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint & ebook

All Quiet on the Orient Express is the second novel by Booker shortlisted author Magnus Mills, published in 1999. As with his first novel it is a tragi-comedy with an unnamed narrator dealing with apparently simple but increasingly sinister situations.

Plot introduction[edit]

The narrator is spending a few weeks camping in the Lake District before setting out on a motorcycle trip to India. He agrees to help the campsite owner, Tom Parker by performing a simple chore, painting a gate. One thing inexorably leads to another and he finds himself drawn into a succession of disparate tasks, each more complex and time-consuming, and from which there appears to be no escape.


The Complete Review's assessment was that the story is "not entirely credible, but enjoyable and creepy", and noted that aggregated reviews from other publishers "enjoyed it, and some are very enthusiastic":[1]. Carey Harrison in the San Francisco Chronicle commented, "It's not out of idle amusement that the sweetly fiendish author has named his book All Quiet on the Orient Express. This marriage of famous titles hides from view (yet points to) its dark, telling twin: Murder on the Western Front. Not since Kafka has an author lured his audience so innocently, so beguilingly, into hell."[2] Nanja Labi in Time wrote, "In this creepy, deadpan novel by a nominee for Britain's Booker Prize, nothing much happens—except that one man slowly, painlessly, surrenders his life".[3]

Brian Evenson compared it favourably with Mills's first novel: "The characters are similar, the style and tone are quite similar, and both make wry but dark commentary on the dilemma of working men. Yet one must acknowledge that the range of All Quiet on the Orient Express is larger; Mills develops the absurdity of this situation with more subtlety and precision".[4]

Publication history[edit]

Editions have been published and re-published in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, primarily in trade paperback format:[5]

Film adaptation[edit]

According to The New York Times in 2012, the novel was being adapted into a film by Idiotlamp Productions, directed by Jim Field Smith.[6][7] Idiotlamp's website no longer has any information about this project, as of 2017.[8]


  1. ^ Orthofer, M. A. "All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills". The Complete Review. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  2. ^ Harrison, Carey (5 September 1999). "Lake District Holiday Is No Picnic – Magnus Mills' second novel carries readers to a bleak, fascinating place". SFGate. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ Labi, Nadya (18 October 1999). "Books: All Quiet on the Orient Express". Time.
  4. ^ Evenson, Brian. "All Quiet on the Orient Express, by Magnus Mills". Bradford Morrow Review of Contemporary Fiction. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Author: Magnus Mills, Title: All Quiet on the Orient Express". 4 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.. Automatically generated search results.
  6. ^ "All Quiet on the Orient Express – Cast, Crew, Director and Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Work". Archived from the original on 2012-07-27. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Projects". Retrieved 4 July 2017.