This is the third, and final, part of a series that started with The Motherless Oven, and continued in The Can Opener’s Daughter. If you’ve not read them, then here’s not the place to start, but perhaps I can at least persuade you why you should while you’re here.
In this volume we find Vera and Scarper trying to track down Castro Smith, now a prisoner, and writing his Book of Forks. The journey to complete the book, and for Scarper and Vera to travel to their destination, means confronting the nature of reality, and that’s one very abstract reality indeed.
Davis has created a superbly unique story that, for me, manages to offer something bold and of the future but also cherishes and nurtures 1970s/1980s nostalgia. At times it feels like you’re reading a back issue of 2000AD, and others that you’re in an Iain M Banks novel.
But the most remarkable part of this storytelling endeavour is how something that’s previously felt like riffing, like a surreal, unplanned and unknowable structure, coalesces into something tangible and quite unexpected. A book that wowed via its strangeness hits you once again when it offers its rationale.
A dystopian masterpiece, and a very British one at that.
And if you liked that: Take a look at Rob’s The Complete Don Quixote