So I remember reading The Eyre Affair and being like, Pfffft, and now I go back and read my review and that's pretty much the case. But then I read One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing kind of on a lark (second chances are not my forte, which I'm starting to realize is arrogant and dumb) and it was VERY EXCELLENT. I dunno, maybe Fforde has been studying his craft and improving as a writer. Maybe I need to hate less.
And horse more!
To be fair, I didn't HATE The Eyre Affair, I just thought the jokes tried too hard. The jokes in The Girl Who Died A Lot are, by contrast, largely on point. Again, they are the literary sort, so if you've NEVER READ A BOOK IN YOUR LIFE this is probably not the place to start. But when they pull out a random ancient manuscript from a library stack and it ends up being Pliny the Really Very Young's account of being unable to see the eruption of Vesuvius due to being put to bed early for some bullshit excuse, I chortled excessively.
So. The Thursday Next books are based on the wacky premise that...something like the literary world is a place you can go and change things or something, *I* don't know. I think I read the books too far apart to keep the rules straight. What I love about them, though, is that (unlike Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, say) the execution is marvelous. I'm always getting my hopes up about things and then being like
but THIS IS ACTUALLY A PONY (metaphorically). It is out there but everything hangs together.Thursday Next keeps being replaced by replicas of herself and she doesn't notice until Landon asks her for the code word and she is like, '...damn' but then, weirdly, the replicas seem to be on her side. So they're always leaving Thursday: Original Sauce in a cozy cupboard with a sandwich nearby or something. So that's happening, but also THE WORLD IS ENDING because God is going to smite it, and then there's some weird time-travel stuff that I swear makes sense when Fforde explains it but drains out of my ears as soon as the page is turned.
And, delightfully, Thursday herself is getting on in years. Like, semi-retirement, bad hip and so forth. The Bonds of the world can age handsomely but any heroine past her mid-thirties is for the scrap heap, so to see Thursday wandering around all In Her Fifties And Still Useful To Society is refreshing.
The whole thing is full of lovely, Douglas-Adamsy nonsense. Find me another book that's wacky but not stupid, plz.
Requisite ass-covering: book received from publisher.