One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When you read a Jasper Fforde novel, you have to be prepared to enter into a completely fantastical realm of novel reading. The book twists and turns at the drop of a hat, and just when you think you may get an inkling of an idea of where the story might be headed you are distracted by a sarcastic rant on the state of books and writing disguised as part of the plot. This is what I would call the Monty Python of novel writing, and I hope the author wouldn't be offended by that comparison, as it is meant in the highest regard. Dizzingly smart, completely droll, often crazy, Fforde's writing highly entertains this (one of 6*) reader.
This actual novel is a continuation of sorts of his popular "Thursday Next" series. But Fforde is so smart in that he doesn't try to make another sequel - instead he constructs a novel that references and uses aspects of the series so that readers of the other books have some familiarity, but it is different from the other series. To give you an idea, the main character is not Thursday Next, but the written Thursday Next. And if you can wrap head around that, then you are well on your way to making your way through the book.
Sprinkled with antecedents, such as the written Harry Potter forever mad at having to now be associated with looking like Daniel Radcliffe, and a dangerous encounter in a "mimefield", and a plot line that involves a war between "Racy Novel" and "Women's Fiction", the novel can almost at times get a bit lost in its own cleverness. But the genius of Fforde is that he knows it, and suddenly you're thrust back into the plot through a clever break thru of the fourth wall. It is such a pleasure to read such creative writing.
Part improvisation, part mystery, part comedy, and a thousand other parts, this book, as most of Fforde's books do, defines genres. Just don't tell the Council of Genres that*.
*Recommend reading the book to get these references. But do so at your own imagination's peril :).
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