Author: Tom Gauld
Publisher: Canongate/Allen & Unwin
Funny and poignant cartoons and images have a habit of going viral online, and oftentimes, though we’ll recognise the artist’s style in a heartbeat, the names tend to get overlooked. As such, you might not instantly recognise the name ‘Tom Gauld’, but it’s a safe bet you’ve seen, and enjoyed, his work online. After all, Gauld has a gift for cutting through pretension to get to the heart of life as a creator, reader or lover of pop culture.
In his latest offering, ‘Baking With Kafka’, Gauld tears into the jargonistic surrealism of the modern age with all the glee of a child playing pass the parcel. For the writer in your life, or those with a love of mockery both subtle and overt, with minimal malice and exceptional wit and whimsy, ‘Baking With Kafka’ is the perfect gift idea.
It’s true though, that non-readers are probably not going to be too impressed with the jokes here. This is a word lovers ideal read, certainly, but for those who aren’t big on literary or popular culture, many of the jokes will fly straight overhead. But for those happy to poke fun at the foibles of the literary and pop culture ideologies, ‘Baking With Kafka’ is the perfect evening read.
The art here certainly isn’t high-brow, but there’s something wonderful in the minimalist art style on display. It feels, oddly, like we’re closer to the action, as though Gauld has sketched profundity to page, rather than wasting time fussing about with extraneous detail. For those who want their art fine and detailed, this might not be your ideal, but the simple nature of the art allows for the ideas and jokes to take centre stage, adding another layer of clarity to the conversation.
‘Baking With Kafka’ might not be the sort of book that requires pain staking reading, but it’s more than likely the sort you’ll meander back to for a chuckle. If you’re a fan of fandom inspired humour more than happy to poke fun at itself, this is certainly a book to investigate.
‘Baking With Kafka’ is published by Canongate/ Allen and Unwin, and is available through leading booksellers.
Rating: 4 stars
Review by Kylie Thompson