Something Rotten

‘Jurisfiction is the name given to the policy agency inside books.

After the messy disappointment of The Well of the Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde is back to deliver. Absurd, smart, silly and amusingly confusing. It’s full on Thursday Next.

Hamlet is walking around in the new world. So is the Minotaur, under the name of Norman Johnson. A politician tries to start a war with the Danes and everything Danish, Thursday has a son (Friday) with an eradicated husband and a croquet game needs to be won to save the world. There are also Neanderthals, evil mega corporations and chimeras, sometimes with a human arm. And don’t forget the jumps between fiction and real life, like the jurisfiction agent that happens to be a huge hedgehog.

To some this will sound as too hysterical, too crowded to have room for a plot. The first is a matter of opinion, the second definitely isn’t true. Thursday is juggling 3 – 5 cases and real life problems at the same time, and almost all of them get tied up neatly.

Tickled and relieved I can conclude that Fforde didn’t lose it after all.

Something Rotten, Jasper Fforde, Hodder and Sloughton Ltd 2004

The Well of Lost Plots

Making one’s home in an unpublished novel wasn’t without its compensations.

Thursday Next, part of Jurisfiction, moves into an unpublished novel to take some time off of her life, including the erasure of her husband.  She replaces a fictional character and lives with her pet dodo in a flying boat. If this sounds out of the ordinary to you, you must be unfamiliar with the Thursday Next books. Jasper Fforde creates books in which nursery rhyme characters are alive (except when they’re a victim of murder), and there is a world of fiction in which real people can exist and book-jump.

Of course the easy life of a fictional character (she even gets lines to say) doesn’t last long. Not only does she start small mayhem in the novel she lives in (one of the characters is desperate to make it better and stray from the plot line), but she also stumbles into a plot to take over the world of books.

I really like the worlds in Fforde’s books, but feel that he dropped the ball with this one. Just a little bit. He got stranded in too much detail about how the fictional world works, up to the committees, layers and several repeats of why the office was on the 26th floor because there were few author names that started with Q-Z. It makes the story drag, I rather had more scenes with Thursday’s pet dodo Pickwick. There always seems to be more space for the slightly absurd (there is also a nursery rhyme characters strike) anyway.

Just skip to the other Thursday Next books.

The Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde, Penguin Books 2003