By Matthew Dooley. Published by Jonathan Cape.
Hardcover, 176 pages, Colour, 2020.
**WINNER OF THE BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE FOR COMIC FICTION**
**A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR**
A stunning first graphic novel by a Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story competition winner - a tale of a skirmish in the ice-cream wars that is worthy of Alan Bennett
In the small seaside town of Dobbiston, Howard sells ice creams from his van, just like his father before him. But when he notices a downturn in trade, he soon realises its cause: Tony Augustus, Howard's half-brother, whose ice-cream empire is expanding all over the North-West...
Flake, Matthew Dooley's debut graphic novel, tells of how this epic battle turns out, and how Howard - helped by the Dobbiston Mountain Rescue team - overcomes every obstacle and triumphs in the end.
If Alan Bennett made graphic novels, they might look like this... But Dooley deserves to be recognised for his own talents and they are all on display in this fine, funny graphic novel that is full of sly humour and facial hair, set against a world of pub quizzes, crazy golf and crosswords. His flat drawing style has a deadpan comedy all its own, but it's the world he conjures up that stays with you. Lovely.
Teddy Jamieson, Herald Scotland *50 best books to give at Christmas*
Full of irresistible puns… A meld of Alan Bennett and the American comic-book artist Chris Ware…and also Tom Gauld.
Tim Lewis, Observer
The first graphic novel to win the Wodehouse prize for comic literature. It's a cheerfully nostalgic trip into a north-western English town of pub quizzes, crazy golf and crosswords, and a testament to the powers of salt water and friendship in a crisis. Dooley's merrily inventive ice lollies are worth a book of their own.
James Smart, Guardian *Books of the Year*
Dooley is deft at employing a Chris Ware-like sense of ennui… Flake is principally comedic, comedic in the way that Magnus Mills is comedic or Wallace and Gromit… We will watch to see what he does next with baited breath.
[Matthew Dooley] handles this gloomy trifecta of middle age, limited financial prospects and an English costal resort in the melancholy style familiar to fans of Chris Ware, but unlike that great prophet of emptiness, restores a sunburst of optimism to this dismal corner of the nation by book's end.
Flake is a creation that will convince many remaining sceptics about how much you can do with the help of pictures.
James Naughtie, Bookseller
A cheerfully nostalgic trip into a north-western English town...and a testament to the powers of salt water and friendship in a crisis.
James Smart, Guardian, *Books of the Year*
Flake is immediately and extremely funny, full of dry witticisms and pleasing digressions right from the start... exquisitely drawn in a flat, sharp style... [Flake] rarely fails to raise a smile... This is well worth your time and money - I enjoyed it immensely.
Pete Redrup, Quietus