Tag Archives: Jasper Fforde

Something Rotten (Thursday Next #4)

by Jasper Fforde

If you are reading this but haven’t already read any of the previous three Thursday Next novels- STOP! You really shouldn’t be here. Book four is not a safe place for the uninitiated. There are all kinds of sinister traps and unpredictable plot twists that may result in a serious book related injuries. 

Something Rotten brings all the threads, plots, chronologically challenged events and Shakespeare’s favourite character (so he thinks) to some kind of conclusion.

Of course, in the world created by the at time warped but always funny imagination of Jasper Fforde, nothing can be taken at face value.

In the previous books we have seen the barriers between fiction and reality come tumbling down. Even concepts such as linear time have been challenged and found wanting. Nothing is sacred in a world where croquet attracts audiences in the millions, Shakespeare is a national hero, George Formby is the President of England and where literary crimes are investigated by a dedicated special police department.

At the centre of his, Thursday’s fourth outing is the dashing young Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. His appearance just as the government embarks on a campaign of anti-Danish propaganda is more than a little awkward, but ultimately the least of Thursday’s worries. Not only must she find a way to save Hamlet from a hostile merger, but she is also trying to bring back her eradicated husband whilst struggling to prevent Armageddon by ensuring that Swindon win the Croquet Superhoop. 

Something Rotten is an action-packed adventure that does not disappoint in any way. For fans of Jasper Fforde, it is just what we have come to expect. For the uninitiated (why are you still reading this?), go out there and buy the set – you won’t be disappointed. 

The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3)

The Well of Lost Plotsby Jasper Fforde

Thursday Next is back and in this, the third instalment of her most unlikely adventures, our intrepid detective finds herself not only reading books but becoming a part of them. Taking refuge in the Well of Lost Plots, Thursday needs to rest and come to terms with both her pregnancy and the eradication of her husband …what’s his name… but she has barely unpacked her bags when life in the unpublished “Caversham Heights” begin to take a decidedly strange turn. 

Actually, the plot for this trip into Fforde’s parallel universe matters little. It is the storytelling itself that makes these books so fascinating and funny. Any attempt by me to distil the essence of the book into a simple paragraph or two would confuse anyone who hasn’t read either of the previous books. And anyone who has read Thursday’s first two books will understand my reticence. 

Humour comes in many forms and is probably the most subjective of the literary genres. Whilst some writers prefer to litter their work with quick one-liners, others, like Fforde, turn words inside out and cast doubt on their very meaning. Fforde manages to use words to paint a very vivid picture of the topsy-turvy world he has created for us. 

For anyone new to Jasper Fforde’s particular universe, be warned: nothing is quite as it seems and to trying to apply any kind of logic to the events, characters or creatures that inhabit the books is akin to knitting fog in a pair of boxing gloves. With the lights out during a particularly wild storm. Best not try it. Just sit back, leave the real world behind and be prepared to be entertained. 

But, lunacy aside, Jasper Fforde is a good writer who uses humour and lunacy to tell a damned good tale. For anyone who, like me, enjoyed the works of Sharpe and Pratchett, then the Thursday Next series is a must. 

And, just in case you were wondering, the Well of Lost Plots is the place where all fiction is created. 

Lost In A Good Book (Thursday Next #2)

Lost In A Good Bookby Jasper Fforde

I sometimes find myself wondering what is going through an author’s mind when they plat and write a novel. In Jasper Fforde’s case, it is probably best we don’t know.

For the second in his Thursday Next series, Fforde takes us even further into the strange and wonderful world where characters can move between stories and a police force exists to keep the stories in good order. This is also a world where Mammoths roam the English countryside, Dodos are popular household pets and the very idea of supersonic flight is, well, just plain daft.

Thursday Next is our guide for this journey through a world almost as batty as our own. Thursday is a Literary Detective working for SpecOps-27. Her previous success in saving Jane Eyre (see The Eyre Affaire) has made her something of a celebrity, thrusting her into a seemingly endless round of interviews and meet-and-greets. But if she thought that killing the evil Hades was an end to her adventures inside books.

But what is bad news for Thursday is good news for us. If things had ended there then Lost IN A Good book would have just become me of those forgotten stories languishing in the Well of Lost Plots (this will make sense if you read the book).

The story follows on immediately after the equally madcap “The Eyre Affaire”. Thursday herself is trying to balance her newfound celebrity status with her day job solving crimes against literature. And she seems to be managing OK. That is until she and her partner are sent to investigate a claim that a previously unknown Shakespeare play has been discovered in a private collection. IN her role as a Literary Detective such claims are bread and butter cases, but when it turns out to be true, events begin to take some rather unexpected turns. Add to this the fact that she seems to have become the target of agents from Goliath, the country’s largest and most sinister conglomerate, and also fro, the Hades family, Thursday’s life has just got very complicated indeed. 

Lost In A Good Book is a comic adventure that manages to combine the best elements of traditional crime fiction with one of the most twisted and hilarious plots I have read for a long time. To fully appreciate Jasper Fforde’s humour you need to be prepared to suspend belief and be prepared to follow whichever twisted path the plot decides to take. And I can assure you it is well worth the effort.

Admittedly, this kind of surreal nonsense is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if, like me, you enjoy the rather crazy worlds created by Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett, then Jasper Fforde is right up your street.

 

 

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1)

by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre AffairImagine, if you will, a world in which England (not the UK) is still fighting the Crimean War and facing birder skirmishes with the People’s Republic of Wales; where airships are still ambling across the ski ways; where re-engineered Dodos are the favourite family pet; and where special government departments police literature and time. And just as your head begins to ache, imagine a world where no one bats an eye when the hero introduces herself as Thursday Next!

If you find these things unimaginable then “The Eyre Affair” is probably best avoided. But, if you can get your head around these ideas then grab yourself a copy and step into one of the most bizarre, entertaining and original books I have read for some time.

The afore mentioned Thursday Next is an agent for the Literary Detective Agency of the Special Operations Network, or SpecOps 27 for short. Her job is to police the lucrative literacy market that has been infiltrated by criminal gangs. Not a role that normally involves car chases, gun fights, kidnappings and murder, but with a new “Mr Big” on the scene things begin to take a more sinister turn. And it is Thursday’s job to bring him down.

In this alternative version of 1985, England is virtually controlled by the Goliath Corporation whose influence in every aspect of government and the media make them as bad as the villains themselves.

Told mainly in the first person, Thursday’s adventures are full of the kind of twists, turns and betrayals you would expect of a good detective story, but Jasper Fforde is no ordinary writer, and Thursday Next is no ordinary detective.

The world Jasper has created is full of wonderful characters and the alternative history he has created is oddly believable. I found the book difficult to put down, and not because it had been glued to my hands! The style is somewhat reminiscent of early Tom Holt, with great characters you can have some empathy for and a plot that is difficult to explain to anyone who hasn’t already read the book. Bizarre, funny, imaginative and great fun.

“The Eyre Affaire” is the first in a series of books following the adventures of Thursday Next. I for one will be on the lookout for the next instalment.