Thursday Next: First Among Sequels

How do I love Mr. Fforde’s work?  Let me count the ways.  1) Bibliophilia geekery at it’s very, very best.  You know that this man loves books, and not only loves them, but knows them, inside and out!   2) A fantastic knowledge of his own canon – which repeats and doubles over on itself and is full of time-traveling characters, so that’s quite an accomplishment!  3) Equal aptitude at dealing with the fast-paced action sequences as he is at writing the sweet, quieter home moments.  4) Long and patient build-up to obvious and yet well-deserved jokes. 5) Long and patient build-up to brilliant and not-so-obvious plot twists!  6) The ability to believably mimic the voices of dozens and dozens of well-loved literature characters.  7)  An ever-expanding mythology explaining how books are made.  Not on this side of the page – but inside the books themselves!  8) A main character that never gets tiring or facetious.  9) The gumption to stretch the limits on what can be considered story just about any which way he likes – Jasper Fforde can do anything he wants to do in fiction – and he probably will.

This is maybe not my favorite in the Thursday Next series—I’d say Jasper will have trouble topping Hamlet walking around in England in Something Rotten, in my book, but I’m not about to limit him to anything.  Parts of this are slow so far as plot goes, but we continue to see how very in-depth Fforde’s layout of the Book World is in his mind.  He’s mechanically minded enough to make things like Imaginotransference devices sound like they really do work – and silly enough to admit that Textual Sieves are universally useful simply because they’re never fully explained, and thus can be used for anything.

What I really enjoyed about this one, though, was Thursday’s family environment, especially any interraction we got to see with her children—it’s one of my favorite aspects of Fforde’s Nursery Crime series, also, he simply has a fantastic knack for capturing family dynamics.

This ends with a fantastic cliffhanger, also, one that leads back to things that began even in the second novel.  Fforde has this way of looking back at his own stories and twisting the innuendos of small details to bring them into a new and current problem for Thursday, which I think is utterly brilliant.

While this may not be my very favorite of his canon, it continues to prove to me that anything Fforde writes is worth reading.  The reader always feels a bit like they’re part of an inside joke reading his novels, and a brilliantly convoluted one, at that.  Reading Fforde’s work is like reading a friend’s writing, it’s that much better because you know just how much they enjoyed writing it, too.

So highly recommend this one, and if you haven’t read the Thursday Next series yet, shame on you!  Go on and start at the beginning, with The Eyre Affair, where Thursday has to save Jane Eyre from being kidnapped right out of her own book.  Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting waiting impatiently for Fforde’s next novel – and the start of a brand new series, Shades of Grey.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    You’ve mentioned this series alot! I’m going to have to check it out. I’m really curious.

    • 2

      tiemeinwords said,

      It’s very worth it! I know you’d love it, hun, because you love books, AND you write, and it’s great for anyone who writes. 😀


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