The Book Of Forks: Essential Reading For Later In 2019
by Richard Bruton
Back in 2014, Rob Davis began a trilogy of books that are some of the best examples of just how strange and wonderful comics have the possibility to be. First came The Motherless Oven, then The Can Opener’s Daughter, and now, later in 2019, the whole thing wraps up with The Book Of Forks.
I’m betting this is my book of 2019. After all, Motherless Oven was my book of 2014 and Can Opener’s Daughter was my book of 2016. The hat-trick is surely possible.
The Book Of Forks promises so much, but just wrapping up the story so far will be a bewildering, fantastical thing. To give you an idea of what I mean, here’s the PR from SelfMadeHero:
Castro Smith finds himself imprisoned within the mysterious Power Station, writing his Book of Forks while navigating baffling daily meetings with Poly, a troubled young woman who may be his teacher, his doctor, his prison guard… or something else entirely. Meanwhile, back home, Vera and Scarper’s search for their missing friend takes them through the chaotic warzone of the Bear Park and into new and terrifying worlds.
With The Book of Forks, Rob Davis completes his abstract adventure trilogy by stepping inside Castro’s disintegrating mind, to reveal the truth about the history of the world, the meaning of existence and the purpose of kitchen scales.
Rob Davis‘ The Book of Forks is published in October by SelfMadeHero. But, just to whet your appetite, here’s just a little preview of the best book of 2019…
Now, if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, I figured just a little recap of what has gone before might come in handy. Go out and buy The Motherless Oven and The Can Opener’s Daughter right now, and you too will be waiting expectantly for The Book Of Forks.
The Motherless Oven – Rob Davis, published by SelfMadeHero
In Scarper Lee’s world, parents don’t make children – children make parents. Scarper’s father is his pride and joy, a wind-powered brass construction with a billowing sail. His mother is a Bakelite hairdryer. In this world it rains knives, and household appliances have souls. There are also no birthdays – only deathdays. Scarper knows he has just three weeks to live. As his deathday approaches, Scarper is forced from his routine and strikes out into the unknown – where friendships are tested and authority challenged.
With The Motherless Oven, Davis really lets loose, ideas and invention pouring out, brilliantly deranged, a piece of chaotic, inspired, clever fiction, absolutely cool, wonderfully weird.
His art full of brilliantly black lines, every face a delight of expression, never more so than with two of his main characters, whether it’s Scarper Lee’s mop of jet black, unruly hair, or the beguiling and wonderful Vera Pike, with a nose that’s the very definition of perky and eyes that shine with mischief and smarts.
Within a few pages, you fall in love a little with the two leads, certainly empathise with them, weird things though they might be.
The Motherless Oven has got that impeccable cool air about it, the sense of something knowing and clever. It’s multi-layered, it’s clever, it’s brilliant, it’s got the pace of the best action thriller and the stylistic weirdness of the best of David Lynch and the Coen Brothers wrapped up in one.
The Can Opener’s Daughter – Rob Davis, published by SelfMadeHero
In The Motherless Oven, Scarper Lee asked: “Who the hell is Vera Pike?” In the second part of Rob Davis’ trilogy, we get a chance to find out. This is Vera’s story. Grave Acre is a cruel world of opportunity and control. Vera’s mother is the Weather Clock, the omnipotent and megalomaniacal Prime Minister of Chance. Her father is a can opener. Charting Vera’s unsettling childhood, the book takes us from her home in Parliament to suicide school, and from the Bear Park to the black woods that lie beyond. In the present day, Vera and Castro Smith are determined to see their friend Scarper again – but is he still alive? And if so, can they save him? Can anyone outlive their deathday? Both a sequel and a darkly inventive standalone graphic novel, The Can Opener’s Daughter answers many of the questions posed in The Motherless Oven, while asking plenty more of its own.
The adventures of Vera Pike continue in The Can Opener’s Daughter, expanding upon all that went before it in The Motherless Oven but also opening up a whole new world of perplexing questions and the most gloriously bizarre circumstances.
Vera’s dad is the can opener, but it’s Vera’s mom who really features most, the Prime Minister, the Weather Clock. Vera’s young life plays out, her childhood in the well-to-do Grave Acre, and her present with Castro Smith as they attempt to figure out just what happened to Scarper.
The connections with The Motherless Oven are plentiful, cleverly unveiled as we go on, a playful, deliciously wicked circularity of connections that puzzle, amaze, perplex, and thrill, all at once. It’s every bit the brilliant graphic novel that The Motherless Oven was, expanding upon what was there in clever, spectacular fashion, with all that incredibly inventive Rob Davis artwork and dazzling array of ideas to intrigue and delight every reader.
Oh, and if you’ve made it this far… a little teaser from The Can Opener’s Daughter about just what the hell The Book Of Forks might be, according to Castro Smith…
It’s an encyclopedia of all possible histories and a post-mortem of all possible futures. It explains deathdays, how weather works, where Gods came from, why the Immortals died out and how to repair a kettle.
Oh yes, that makes everything crystal clear. But trust me on this, The Book Of Forks will be an amazing book. More on it nearer the publication date of October 2019.