The Motherless Oven
Now we’re cooking
Release Date: 16 October
160 pages | £ 12.99 ( paperback) Writer/ artist: Rob Davis Publisher: SelfMadeHero
days. Mechanical dinnerladies. Sheltering from sudden knifestorms on the way home. Not being able to skip lessons because the school lions were patrolling the playground…
This is the world of The Motherless Oven: a mundane British town, which could be placed in more or less any era between the ’ 60s and the present day, overlaid with dozens of surreal flourishes. Children build their own parents, although none of them remembers doing this. Television is replaced by a spinning patterned wheel. And most significantly, your deathday is known in advance. Scarper Lee is only a teenager and his deathday is in a couple of weeks, which is a bummer – on the other hand, it means he’s got nothing to lose. And the new girl at school, Vera Pike, is determined that Scarper should seize his final days.
Rob Davis’s monochrome artwork helps ground the book, so that while its imagery is vivid, it’s never in danger of drifting off into self- indulgence. It remains focused and economical, and is often very funny. Don’t expect all your questions to be answered – this isn’t that kind of book – but rest assured that despite large areas of ambiguity, it doesn’t leave you feeling dissatisfied. You’re drawn in by its strange world and you come to care about its characters, and both are so vivid that the result is an outstanding piece of work. Eddie Robson
The original forecast was for spoons.