Science fiction and fantasy                                            



Lost In A Good Book

by Jasper Fforde

cover  

 
Lost In A Good Book is the second instalment of Thursday Next's absurd literary adventures. Her married life is off to a bad start when her new husband gets erased from time. Only Thursday has any memory of him, so it's up to her to restore the past and bring him back to life. However she also learns that the world is due to end in a matter of days, engulfed in a mass of pink, sticky goo. It falls to Thursday to sort that out as well.

After the events of The Eyre Affair our heroine has become something of a celebrity. But her new-found fame hasn't afforded her the freedom she expected, or even a voice. She wants to tell the true story, but every interview is censored. She can't even discuss cheese without someone trying to silence her. That's only the start of this madcap farce, which keeps on getting wackier. Mammoths rampage through suburbia and unhappy Neanderthals protest their situation, a Supreme Evil Being makes an appearance, and a series of deadly coincidences keep occurring and pointing to Thursday's impending doom. Meanwhile a very convincing manuscript of a lost Shakespearean play emerges. There's a lot going on in this story, much of it bizarre.

That's not to say the novel is filled with relentless action. Thursday isn't afraid to fight her corner, but she doesn't always do it with fists flying. Whilst the story never slows down it's more of a thoughtful experience than some mad dash from one eccentric scrape to the next.

Thursday gets help from Miss Haversham and other literary figures as she learns to navigate the pages of fiction and move into books to find the answers she's looking for, or to seek refuge. With every chapter Jasper Fforde demonstrates his infectious enthusiasm for fiction. This story is a tribute to the classic works of English literature, and at the same time it's a thorough riot. Characters like the Red Queen and the Cheshire cat turn up alongside others from Dickens, Jane Austen and a host of other works. Those from within the Bookworld series are named with Jasper Fforde's characteristic knack for the ridiculous: agents Lamb and Slaughter, an eccentric old chap called Volescamper, pudding writer Cilla Bubb, and so on.

However it's not all puns and silliness, just as the story isn't non-stop action. Lost In A Good Book is a carefully balanced mixture of all the right elements. There's a liberal dose of fun and enough tension to keep the pages turning, but there's more as well. It's a satire on the system embodied by the monolithic Goliath corporation, with its fingers in every pie and its shadowy control over government and the media. Thursday has never been one to accept bullying or injustice from anyone, and her defiance of everyone who tries to pressure her, from politicians to pushy colleagues to wicked villains is triumphant. This is quite a complex story which fits together cleverly. It's every bit as quirky and inventive as the first book in the series.

14th April 2011

Book Details

Year: 2002

Categories: Books

  Fantasy
 
  Highbrow

  Cheerful
  Female Protagonist  

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Jasper Fforde