by 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pregnancy and the eradication of her husband …what’s his name… but she has barely unpacked her bags when life in the unpublished “Caversham Heights” begin to take a decidedly strange turn.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.