The Moth­er­less Oven

Now we’re cook­ing

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Re­lease Date: 16 Oc­to­ber

160 pages | £ 12.99 ( pa­per­back) Writer/ artist: Rob Davis Pub­lisher: SelfMadeHero

Ah, school

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.

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