The Mouse Triptych is a trilogy of stories where mice, in one way or another, tangle with humans.
In A Stroke of Genius, a mastermind among mice, seeking refuge from a bitter winter, finds his way into a big Victorian house. Its once-grand rooms are now occupied by a shabby old scholar who has a pathological fear of mice. Man and mouse engage in a life and death struggle until, at a stroke, the odds are reversed.
Polemikos is the dark story of a mouse born inside the Trojan Horse. He believes his mission is to save Troy from her doom and from the vulgar Greeks. His short life inside the stinking belly of the horse moves to a devastating climax as he follows the psychopath, Pyrrhus, in his murderous path through the blazing city. The reader is left to decide whether little Polemikos changes the course of history or not.
The third tale, The Downing Street Cat, is lighter in tone, though it contains playful satire. It is set inside Number 10 Downing Street, the seat of the UK Government, where the Cabinet (of mice, of course) is deliberating about how to get rid of the Cat. The Minister for Nocturnal Affairs has a remarkably devious plan. The stories are held together by the low esteem in which mice hold men and there is a comic vein which runs through them even at the darkest moments. Each can be read separately, but in fact, they are subtly hinged by the idea that humans have less control of their destinies than they might suppose.
Reviews for this book
Having purchased and finished reading this series of short stories a while ago (as a welcome reprieve from finals) my review is somewhat overdue, but this is to take nothing from the stories themselves. Thomson’s Triptych is a playful, and thoroughly enjoyable, dive into the realm of magical realism – that genre that has the power to illicit in both child and adult alike a deep sense of hope and intrigue, teasing us with the notion that the world around us is not exactly as it may seem.
The Triptych plays with the clash between the assumed control in the human condition and the vicissitudes of fate, through the eyes (and paws)of a seemingly insignificant (and thus juxtaposed) creature: the mouse. From being charged with the control over life and death, to potentially re-writing the annals of history for not just the past, but the present too, Thomson’s mischief of mice find themselves in many a wrong place, at many a right time (and various other combinations of wrongs and rights), which offers an entertaining read throughout.
Highly recommended for all those who enjoy a good read.
And now for something completely different. Really, really enjoyed these three tails, I mean tales – written by three different mice. Dark and funny, superbly written and I will be reading them all again very soon, as I think that this is a book that could be read over and over and over. Go on, you know you want to.
A fresh and delightful take on the outlook of the mouse towards certain historic events and settings. It appears to be deceptively innocent before reading but the dark humour is definitely not for children. A lively masterpiece, hopefully much more to come from this author!
It is easy for an avid reader to have periods when you become jaded, want to read but can’t find the impetus. IanThomson’s writing is a kick starter, sufficiently different that it gets you out of the slump and back into the saddle. This trilogy has three linked and yet conspicuously different tales sufficiently different from most other stuff on the market that it rejuvenates. I can highly recommend it.
Fun, dark and incredibly well-written. Three great stories written from the perspective of one of man’s oldest foes and mesh the worlds of mice and men together perfectly. Excellent fiction, brilliantly written.