Friday, March 25, 2011

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing - Jasper Fforde

I thought The Eyre Affair tried too hard and so dismissed the Thursday Next series out of hand.  Why was I such a douche about this?  And it may be because I read OoOTiM when I was sad about something unrelated and wanted cheering up, but ass?  Consider yourself laughed off.

For those not familiar or slightly amnesiatic (i.e. me), in Thursday Next novels you can enter a portal into fiction and then do things therein.  You probably shouldn't, and the gist of what I remember from The Eyre Affair is that Thursday tries to keep people from doing exactly that because it fucks with things.

Ok but in THIS one we are in the BookWorld.  Not in books, but in the place where books hang out and are read and characters futz around while not being read and so forth, so we're chillin with the written-Thursday-Next from the BOOKS about Thursday Next when it begins to appear that the Real Thursday Next is missing and the written-Thursday-Next has to get an understudy-Next so she can go pretend to be real-world-Next (it gets a bit Inceptiony sometimes but you'll get the drift).

And I said that A S Byatt was a reader's writer because to enjoy her you have to enjoy wandering dazedly through subordinate clauses.  Fforde is also a reader's writer but only because if you are not familiar with books you will not get the better jokes.  Por ejemplo.  'There was an annual fixture on the BookWorld Calendar, where two dozen gruel-crazed and indignant Mr. Bumbles yelling "More?  MORE?!" were released to charge through an unread chapter of Oliver Twist.  Those of a sporting or daring dispostion were intived to run before them' etc. Or like when she opens the door to find 'three Dostoyevskivites staring at [her] from within a dense cloud of moral relativism.'  Or the land of Psychological Thriller where 'the weather, naturally, was atmospheric.' 

And not all the humor is so heavily allusive, but the best bits are.  There are a handful of groaners, but humor is a dartboard that is hard to hit UNERRINGLY, and one person's groaner is another one's roflmao, so.  And then somewhere along the way Thursday acquires a mechanical butler, and you know how I feel about butlers (I am, as they say, for 'em).

All in all, I am a judgmental shit who will have to go read the intervening Next books now as penance.  Eight and a half caterpillars for this one.

Requisite ass-covering: book received from publisher.


Karen said...

I like your review. I loved this book too. The previous couple disappointed me and I thought it was a sign the series was going downhill. One of Our Thursdays Is Missing proved me wrong though and I loved every second of it. I loved the boat and everyone trying to work out which part they played. Also got a kick out of the fiction map and conspiracy.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Don't be too hard on yourself...we are all judgemental a bit, are we not? Otherwise those who read us would think us BORING. We are required to form opinions while our sad or bitchy moods plague us. So how is this for judgemental? I am afraid to read these because I'm not sure I'd get the jokes.

pagesofjulia said...

Good point Sandy - opinions are what make book bloggers readable!! I am most certainly here for Raych's opinions and judgments!

I read an earlier Fforde book whose title escapes me, but it was the solving of the mystery of who pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall. I liked it. I have just bought this one for my library and hope to find time in my reading schedule :) for it; I love the idea. This may be the vote in favor that pushes me over the edge, so thanks!

Tikabelle said...

@Julia - I read that one and its sequel this summer! The Big Over Easy came first, then The Fourth Bear. I enjoyed them immensely.

I stopped reading the TN novels at Something Rotten, but maybe the series is worth picking up again. Perhaps they're like Tom Robbins books and need to be read in between other books lest we become too jaded?

picky girl said...

Ok - then I'm a douche too. Read the same exact book; thought the same exact thing and haven't picked one up since, though several have looked interesting. You've restored my faith, and I'll look for more Fforde.