Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"So I'm really into granola at the minute. It's delicious! There's a two for one deal on at the smart mart at the mo. You should get some."
"Nah. Not for me, mate. I'm more of a bacon and chips kinda guy..."
"Chips! For breakfast, ha!"
"If I wanna eat chips for breakfast in my own home I will! You can order them for breakfast down the cafe can't you!!"
"Alright mate, keep your hair on!"
I shall have to confess at this point, that the new Page 45 breakfast choice du jour is err... a Greggs vegan sausage roll.
Moving on swiftly, let me allow you to digest Avery Hill's plugola and decide whether you should cut a slice of this for yourself. I have no idea where I am going with my mixing bowl of food metaphors so I shall just stop right now... But first do pour the publisher milk and pick up your spoon...
"Have you ever wished you could glimpse into the lives of strangers, those anonymous faces passed in the produce aisle of the local supermarket, those shadows lurking behind the closed curtains of their homes? Would you be surprised by the rich mixture of personalities, the strange habits and the unexpected insecurities?
Perhaps like you they're also baking blind, no recipe to follow. You might produce a perfect cake, or you might end up throwing the mix in the trash and starting again.
Marble Cake, the debut graphic novel from acclaimed British author and artist Scott Jason Smith, cuts a slice through everyday life and takes a bite out of the layers concealed beneath the icing, all told with the acerbic wit and keen eye of a truly exciting new creator."
It's a clever title, actually, neatly reflecting the fact that we have a large ensemble cast that overlaps and interacts with each other, either purposefully or coincidentally. For if you cut a Marble cake open you'll see that lovely random swirling of colour show how the ingredients have been gently folded together but not over-mixed.
All of our cast's stories don't really start, nor do they either stop as such. Indeed we are precisely provided a few 'glimpses' into their lives to witness their daily mini-triumphs and tragedies that form lives very much more ordinary.
It does all have a mildly soap operatic feel to it, probably due to the rather downbeat suburban setting and deliberately quotidian-as-it-gets bunch of locals, but it's very wittily written and pieced together extremely skilfully thus ensuring this is a far superior recipe for reading.
Art-wise Scott Jason Smith certainly plays to that sensibility too, with primarily dull grey backgrounds, drab locations such as the supermarket and a grotty local pub, populated by a bunch of characters who you can safely say aren't going to win any beauty contests.
You will however nonetheless be utterly fascinated by the minutiae of their mundane lives and when the proverbial twitching curtains of our voyeuristic sojourn are drawn closed for the last time you'll be straining for one last glimpse to try and guess what is going to happen next. Nothing very much probably, but a nosey bugger like myself still wants to know!