Lost in a Good Book
by Jasper Fforde
Fiction. 399 pp.
the back copy:
Her adventures as a renowned Special Operative in literary detection have left Thursday Next yearning for a rest. But when the love of her life is eradicated by the corrupt multinational Goliath Corporation, Thursday must bite the bullet and moonlight as a Prose Resource Operative in the secret world of Jurisfiction, the police force inside books. There she is appointed to Miss Havisham, the famous man-hater from Dickens's Great Expectations, who teaches her to book-jump like a pro. If she retrieves a supposedly vanquished enemy from the pages of Poe's "The Raven," she thinks Goliath might return her lost love, Landen. But her latest mission is endlessly complicated. Not only are there side trips into the works of Kafka and Austen, and even Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Flopsy Bunnies, Thursday finds herself the target of a series of potentially lethal coincidences, the authenticator of a newly discovered play by the Bard himself, and the only one who can prevent an unidentifiable pink sludge from engulfing all life on Earth.
I'm a fan of Thursday Next. One of the books I most often recommend, especially to my English major friends, is The Eyre Affair. I find the writing to be witty and sharp. I enjoy the abundance of literary allusions. I enjoy the little "extracts" at the beginning of each chapter. I just plain like the world Fforde has created for this series.
That said, i don't know why it took me so long to pick up the sequel. I imagine it had a lot to do with my fear of the Curse of the Sequel—the sequel always sucks because the author tries to do a repeat of the first book. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded for this one. Was it as good as the first book? I'm inclined to say no, but I realize that enough time has passed since reading the first book that I've aggrandized its quality somewhat. Even so, the book is enjoyable. I like the characters. I like how they interact. Frankly, I enjoy how Fforde has taken other authors' characters and given them a second life.
Oh, and whereas the first book reveals to us who really wrote Shakespeare, this book reveals the origins of all life.