Something Rotten

Jasper Fforde’s novel Something Rotten is the fourth in his Thursday Next series. Famed Literary Detective and Head of Jurisfiction Thursday Next misses the real world and decides to leave fiction to see what she can do about uneradicating her husband, Landen Parke-Laine. Thursday learns in this installment that things are indeed much weirder than we can know.

While I have enjoyed the entire series, I found this book more confusing than the others. The various threads of the story don’t intertwine until the end, and by that time, I had forgotten enough of the details that I was still confused. Of course, I’m a slow reader, and it’s partly because of that fact that I had difficulty putting the ending together. A reader who finishes more quickly than I might fare better. Fforde is a book nerd’s writer. His allusions to literature and history and enjoyable and entertaining. I liked the book enough that I’ll continue to read more Fforde books, but I’m going to take a break from Fforde for a while and read something else.

My next book will be Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them. Of course, I’m still working on Wilkie Collins’s novel The Woman in White on my iPhone. Because Francine Prose autographed my copy of this book, I don’t want to write in it, so I’ll post my reflections as I read here.

The Well of Lost Plots

Jasper Fforde’s novel The Well of Lost Plots is the third installment of his Thursday Next series. Thursday winds up in the Well of Lost Plots at the end of Lost in a Good Book after her husband has been eradicated by the ChronoGuard. She is taking a well-earned break inside the pages of the novel Caversham Heights. Thursday becomes a JurisFiction agent and continues her apprenticeship with Miss Havisham of Great Expectations. Thursday soon learns that life inside books is as fraught with danger as life in the Outland, and she must look out for attacks on her memory, the Mispeling Vyrus, and a pagerunning minotaur on the loose.

Thursday’s problems are not resolved at the end of The Well of Lost Plots; in fact, if you’ll pardon the pun, the plot only thickens. I felt the storyline in this book jumped around a bit, but it has some genuinely funny moments. A reviewer on Goodreads described these books as beach books for book nerds, and now that I’m trying to find that review, I can’t; however, the reviewer was correct. Book lovers will enjoy all the inside jokes, but even readers who have not read the works of literature alluded to in this series will enjoy it. It’s wildly hilarious fun, and a good “what-if” alternate history story.

I am picking up the next book in this series, Something Rotten, as my new read.

Lost in a Good Book

I finished reading the second book in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, Lost in a Good Book, in the early part of February, but I haven’t had a chance to review it until now.

In this book, Thursday is dealing with her newfound fame after her adventures in The Eyre Affair.  She is newly married to Landen Parke-Laine.  Potentially spoilery detail ahead.  You were warned.

Landen is eradicated by the “benevolent” folks at Goliath in order to force Thursday to help them retrieve their agent, Jack Schitt, from the pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”  In order to learn how to jump into books, Thursday is apprenticed to none other than Miss Havisham herself, who is a delightful character in the hands of Fforde.

Generally speaking, I liked this book even better than the first and am enjoying the third, The Well of Lost Plots even more than the previous two.  If you are a book nerd, do yourself a favor and check out this series.  The allusions and wordplay will make it worth your while alone, but aside from that, the storyline itself is engaging.