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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. New York: Viking, 2003. ISBN: 0-670-03190-9

This is the second Thursday Next novel, and Fforde's second novel, too, I believe. Is that a coincidence or what? Probably what. I blogged the first Thursday Next tome back in July of this year, and this one is at least equally entertaining, maybe more so.

In this story, we find that there is an entire world of books, all books ever and never written, housed in the BookWorld library. Our real world literary agent (as in police agent, not publishing agent) learns how to travel there, and becomes apprenticed to one of the best in Jurisfiction, namely Miss Haversham from Great Expectations. Jurisfiction is, to quote the author, the "policing agent within BookWorld."

In this story, the horrible monolithic industrial and commercial corporate giant, Goliath, has nefariously and illegally utilized the services of Spec-Op 12, the Chronoguard (of which Thursday's father is an on-the-lam ex-member) to eradicate her husband (by causing him to be drowned when only 2 years of age) and Thursday is out to get him back. Not to mention stopping the end of the world, which is about to be caused by nano-technology run amok, converting everything on the planet into Strawberry Dream Topping.

Along the way Thursday has to deal with the inadvertent and improper release of Shakespeare's lost play, Cardenio, from the BookWorld's Lower Basement where the books that no longer exist in the real world are kept, disaffected Neanderthals, and oh, by the way, both she and her pet dodo, Pickwick, are pregnant (well, Pickwick is sitting on an egg, anyhow). This gives agent Next all the more motivation to reclaim, reinvent, rekindle (which re is the right one?) her no longer existent husband.

There are enough other elliptical episodes and illogical incidents to keep you firmly wondering just what on earth could possibly happen next. This is definitely British fiction in its most seriously comic vein, reminding me somehow of the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett. Recommended for people with a literary bent, and a taste for the wild and slightly wacky.

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