Kitchenly 434 by Alan Warner

Who is Crofton Clark? This is the question that hovers throughout Alan Warner’s latest novel. Crofton will tell you – for he is the narrator of this tale – that he is the live-in estate manager at Kitchenly Mill Race, the rambling country residence of Marko Morrell, the largely absent guitarist and leading light of 1970s prog rock group Fear Taker, his wife Auralie and their young daughter Molly.

Crofton has an in-depth knowledge of every inch of the ancient house (with modern connecting ‘air bridges’) and its extensive gardens and is more than happy to describe in minute detail his domestic chores. Having been with Marko from the outset, he knows just about everything about Fear Taker too.

But Crofton has an unnerving habit of making, to him, rational decisions which to us may seem unwise, at the very least. Keeping two accountants from seeing each other by locking them up is amusing yet extreme but inviting two teenage girls seeking Marko’s autograph into the empty house introduces a real sense of dread.

Warner’s novels – including Morvern CallarThe Sopranos and The Deadman’s Pedal – always excite, sometimes intrigue, and on occasions completely baffle! But he is certainly worth reading. In Kitchenly 434 (it’s the telephone number) the wildly oversharing Crofton will discover who he is in a circuitous but ultimately reassuring way.

Reviewed by a library member