The Motherless Oven

By Rob DavisTheMotherlessOven
Publisher: Self Made Hero
ISBN: 9781906838812

Sometimes a book comes along that offers such a strangely bizarre vision but you can’t help but stay sat on the spot until the very last page. This is one of those books. To all intents and purposes it could be the world we live in, except some things are fundamentally different. Look past the terraced streets of houses and shops and there’s a place where the roles of parent and child are reversed. Here children make their parents, constructed from detritus and homeware. They all settle down to watch the wheel, different each day of the week but nothing more than a repeating circular pattern. Outside it doesn’t rain droplets but knives, so people huddle under knife shelters or stay well out of the way altogether.

Scarper Lee knows his deathday is coming – his whole class knows – but it’s something he resolutely accepts. Everything is ticking along as it should in this distorted teenage existence until along comes the new girl at school, Vera Pike, and she does things differently. This sets Scarper down a new path that splits him away from what he’s comfortable with to where he will either embrace or escape his destiny.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, the read is strangely familiar in many respects but oddly disconnected in others. Like a massively extended and expanded dream sequence it runs on its own internal logic that makes perfect sense while you’re absorbed among the pages. The sort of thing that would have once sat comfortably with the pages of Crisis, so a more mature 2000AD story, if that helps you get your head round it. Certainly, if you were ever a fan of those quirkier, more inventive narratives, then this is one for you.

And if you liked that: Try Davis’s monumental adaptation of Don Quixote

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