The Mule

By David Quantick

Sex, Paris, murder, an imaginary world and an untranslatable book

Fiction | Humour
105% funded
477 supporters

Publication date: February 2016

book cover
You made The Mule a reality. It's available in all good book stores now.
141 pledges


E-book edition.
Buy now

Sold out!

$30  + shipping
259 pledges


1st edition hardback and the ebook edition
$75  + shipping
40 pledges


Signed 1st edition hardback and the ebook edition
$150  + shipping
38 pledges

Launch Party

Two invites to the launch party in London, a signed 1st edition hardback and the ebook edition
$225  + shipping
1 pledge

Name a Dog

There's a dog in the book. You can name it. (Includes everything up to the launch party level)
$375  + shipping
4 pledges

Name a Character

Everything up to the launch party, plus the opportunity to name a character in the book. Literary fame for you or a loved one. Limited to four

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take for my book to get dispatched?

For books in stock we usually dispatch orders within a few working days. You will receive a dispatch email when your order is on the way.

Where can I get my book delivered to?

We have temporarily stopped taking orders for published books going to EU destinations due to BREXIT restrictions, but we deliver to most other countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book. If your country does not appear on the list we are not currently taking orders to that destination.

If I buy an ebook, when will I receive this?

Ebook files are sent via email after checkout, or you can download them from your Unbound account.

Where can I buy a copy if there's none available through the Unbound website?

The book should be available to order from most bookshops, or you can support your local bookshop online by ordering from

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

Jacky is a translator. One night he meets a girl in a bar with a book that can't be translated. Hours later, wrongly accused of her murder, Jacky finds himself in Paris with the most annoying man in the world, seeking a mysterious catalogue of an unknown land in an unknown language – the Von Fremdenplatz Documents. Trapped, threatened, and in the company of a truly appalling family, Jacky's only escape is to discover what it means to be...The Mule.


Quick select rewards

141 pledges


E-book edition.
Buy now
$30  + shipping
259 pledges


1st edition hardback and the ebook edition


    DAVID QUANTICK writes for television (Veep, The Thick Of It, Brass Eye) and radio (One, The Blagger's Guide). He is also the author of the comic novel Sparks (described as "excellent" by Neil Gaiman) the comic book That's Because You're A Robot, and several short films, including the award-winning Welcome to Oxmouth. A script-writer, broadcaster, and comedy writer, David once appeared on Celebrity Come Dine With Me, where he came fifth out of five.

  • I WAS IN a bar. It doesn't matter where. It's not relevant to the story. (If there's one thing I've learned in my job, things that aren't relevant to the story have to go). The bar was pretty quiet, which suited me because I don't like to go to bars that play loud music, where everyone's shouting to get a drink and it's so dark you can't see the prices of drinks. Funny — loud and dark always go together with bars. You never see a loud, brightly-lit bar, do you? It's like not content with numbing our senses with booze, the bars want us blind and deaf as well.

    Anyway, this bar was pretty much perfect so far as I was concerned. There was no music at all, the lights were OK — I could see the drinks were a reasonable price for the middle of town — and there were no hen parties or big groups of people making their own racket.

    I signalled to the barman, who had his name on a badge on his shirt. "Good evening, Don", I said, smiling. "I'd like a Martini please. Vodka, and —" But he already turned away to make it. I think he didn't like me saying his name. If I had a job where I had to wear my name on a badge and people said my name, I wouldn't have a problem. If people said, "Excuse me Jacky, could you look at these pages before the weekend?" or "Hey Jacky, this is more of a technical pamphlet but we figure you can handle it," I wouldn't mind at all. Of course I'd have to pick a version of my name that I felt comfortable with, which I admit would probably not be Jacky. Jacky is what my mother called me and I have never liked it. I would much rather be a Jack or even a J — "Hey J!" — but there we go. Whenever I say to people, "My name's Jack," they always look at me as if to say, "Really?" and before you know it, they're calling me Jacky. If they call me anything at all, that is. I have never had any luck with getting people to call me J.

  • David Quantick has written 1 private update. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    25th April 2015 Catchy slogan for The Mule

    "The unspeakable in pursuit of the untranslatable."


    What do you think?  Might work.

    10th April 2015 Trailed

    Well, not so much trailed as extracted. Bad news if you're a tooth, good news if you're a book. Now it's possible to download and read a Sizeable Chunk of The Mule, in which Jacky, the narrator, finds himself in Paris with Euros Frant, the most awful man in the world. 


    We learn a little bit more about the engimatic rock band Carrie and the Legions, and we learn a lot more about the Von…

    2nd February 2015 "Winmni La Pü Y Piggli."

    The most useless book in the world is a translation of a children's classic into a dead language. Some examples of this awful academical tweevery include:

    Winnie Ille Pu, the Latin version of Winnie The Pooh.

    Fabvula De Jemima Anate Aquatica, the Latin version of The Tale Of Jemima Puddleduck

    and Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone in ancient Greek.

    Nobody, as far as I know, has translated…

    22nd January 2015 The Most Annoying Man In The World

    What would the most annoying man in the world look like?

    Like this, probably. Only shorter, with a moustache.

    And hair in his ears.

    (with apologies to Aristide Bruant, who I'm sure wasn't at all annoying).

    16th January 2015 These Are Photographs Of Me

    What if you came across some photographs of someone who had been murdered?

    What if the person in those photographs was you?


    26th November 2014 A PS FOR PLYMOUTH

    After yesterday's post, several kind people sent me this link: 

    25th November 2014 A PLAN FOR PLYMOUTH

    Some people like lists of words. I don't. I try and avoid books where people are always making lists of pretty words, like chrysostom and peridot. 

    I tend to avoid your useless beauty. Decoration has its moments, but I can't abid a thee and a thou and a foldesoddingrol.

    I do however like a map. Any kind, from a world map to a treasure map to a city plan.

    And the greatest city plan of all…

    16th October 2014 #askquantick: 140 Characters In Search Of An Author

    Tomorrow I am a Q and A, from 2pm. Please ask me any questions, about writing, or comedy, or anything (almost anything) and I'll do my best to answer. Thanks!


    16th September 2014 Found In Translation

    They say you should write about what you know. I've never been a translator, so I decided to write a book about a translator. Which became The Mule.

    Which is not true at all. I decided to write a book written in translatorese, the odd dialect of written English in which British and American slang from different decades clash together like verbal armies in the night. Where men can be "blokes" one…

    8th September 2014 Bet you don't get this with Martin Amis

    Sometimes you find yourself on a sunny Monday afternoon consumed with the desire to hear Purple People Eater by Barry Cryer:

    3rd September 2014 Topical

    By complete accident, I wrote a monologue for Doctor Who dissing Star Wars. Well, in a way.

    Warning: contains The Thick of It. And swearing. So much swearing.


    2nd September 2014 Spelling

    Pseudonym, not psuedonym.

    Sometimes I make videos. None of them are very literary but here's one of New Order and Philip Larkin. I filmed Alan Bennett myself on a top of the range 2004 mobile phone camera.



    1st September 2014 Opening a shed

    Welcome to my shed. It is of course a virtual shed.

    Roald Dahl wrote in a real shed. I've got a lawnmower in mine. 

    Cyril Connolly or someone famously wrote about the writer's enemy being "the pram in the hall." I think what he actually meant was "the lawnmower in the shed."

    Thanks for everyone currently supporting The Mule. The next post will be more about the book and less about the shed…

  • These people are helping to fund The Mule.

    User avatar

    Wendalynn Donnan

    User avatar

    dylan nelson

    User avatar

    Rhel ná DecVandé

    User avatar


    User avatar

    Roger Langridge

    User avatar

    Mike James

    User avatar

    Melissa Wallis

    User avatar

    Georgia Odd

    User avatar

    tom anderson

    User avatar

    Emily Bird

    User avatar

    Igor Debski

    User avatar

    Mark French

    User avatar

    Jonathan Carr

    User avatar

    Nick Bryan

    User avatar

    Hannah Whelan

    User avatar

    Lizzie Roper

    User avatar

    Stuart Armstrong

    User avatar

    David Simpkin

    User avatar

    Kate Haldane

    User avatar

    Sue Black

    User avatar

    Toby Bourne

    User avatar

    Neil Macehiter

    View more
  • Kim Locke
    Kim Locke asked:

    would you consider coming to Canada for the launch party?

    DAVID QUANTICK replied:

    Hi Kim Of course! Whereabouts? Best wishes Optimistic Dave

    Kim Locke
    Kim Locke asked:

    Toronto! :)

    DAVID QUANTICK replied:

    We could have two...

    Helen FitzGerald
    Helen FitzGerald asked:


    DAVID QUANTICK replied:


    Peter Greenwood
    Peter Greenwood asked:

    I've been following your career closely over the years & there's one (ONE see what I did there?) question I've always wanted to ask: What's your favourite colour?

    DAVID QUANTICK replied:

    I don't have one alas. Would you like another question to make up for the disappointment?

    Ian MacLeod
    Ian MacLeod asked:

    I think I've now double-pledged. Meanwhile, what celebrities would you like to have taking calls for you in the 24 Quantathon which is surely only a few more pledges away?

    DAVID QUANTICK replied:

    I would choose Lemmy, for his directness. And of course you. And if as I have heard said if the book were in Esperanto, it wouldn't make any difference, because untranslatable, er, translates.