BOOK REVIEW: The Forensic Records Society by Magnus Mills
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Booker and Goldsmith Prize shortlisted author Magnus Mills has a reputation for thinking outside of the box, and he demonstrates his thoughtfulness and dark humour in managing to make The Forensic Records Society simultaneously charming and iconoclastic.
Ostensibly a story of obsession for vinyl records – two friends create a society for listening forensically to records, without comment or criticism, but soon fine that their uncompromising approach results in splinter groups that challenge the beliefs that launched the obsession in the first place – this also works as a very wry and clever parable of modern religion. Mills even uses terms like dogma, purity, devotion and schism, along the way, signposting the religious fervour to which the group apply their love of vinyl.
There’s a palpable joy in instantly liking a book – and as a vinyl collector and wordsmith, The Forensic Records Society had this reviewer hook, line and sinker from page 1.
Rest assured that non-vinyl addicts will find much to engross and enjoy here. Passages such as this one prove that this is about far more than listening to records:
“Was it really beyond human capacity, I pondered, to create a society which didn’t ultimately disintegrate through internal strife? Or collapse under the weight of it’s own laws? Or suffer dangerous rivalries with other societies?”
Mills’ talent is deeper than most, and it’s a thoughtful journey portrayed here, complete with a rather enigmatic finale which we’re still pondering, but which seems entirely appropriate under the circumstances.
Filed Under: Book Reviews
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