London Free Press reviews Baking with Kafka

“Brown: Writer-illustrator bakes up ironic, one-bite collection” / London Free Press / Dan Brown / September 2, 2017

Tom Gauld’s Baking With Kafka, a new collection of one-panel cartoons, is a droll commentary on the writing business and the decline of books and reading.

Rather than a sustained narrative like Gauld’s Mooncop, Baking With Kafka consists of a number of self-contained commentaries, the uniting thread being the publishing industry and reading habits in general.

One cartoon shows a post-­apocalyptic landscape. A guy in a space suit is walking his dog. “I thought that being a sci-fi character would be all flying cars, sexy robots and holidays on Alpha ­Centauri,” he muses.

That’s a typical Gauld joke.

The artist-illustrator has a light touch. Where Mooncop was melancholy, Baking With Kafka is mostly ironic. He takes down the paradoxes of time travel, snooty bookshops and Shakespeare adaptations.

In another panel, a studio head says to a fuming writer, “OK, but aside from the miscast lead, clumsy voiceover, plot butchery, unsuitable setting, ill-judged tone, historical errors, gratuitous nudity and tacked-on happy ending, are you pleased with our adaptation of your novel?”

Yet another of Gauld’s insightful picture-and-word combos has Herman Melville considering titles for his new novel: “The Whale? Of Whales and Men? Ahab and Moby’s Excellent Adventure? Where’s Moby?”

Baking With Kafka is a quick read that will make you smile. If you have a frustrated writer in your life, this just might be the perfect gift.

Share on Facebook
Share on Tumblr
Share via Email