Rating: [rate 5]
“Anything is possible in the BookWorld. The only barriers are those of the human imagination.”
– Miss Havisham
Protecting the world’s greatest literature — not to mention keeping up with Miss Havisham — is tiring work for an expectant mother. And Thursday can definitely use a respite. So what better hideaway than inside the unread and unreadable Caversham Heights, a cliche-ridden pulp mystery in the hidden depths of the Well of Lost Plots, where all unpublished books reside? But peace and quiet remain elusive for Thursday, who soon discovers that the Well itself is a veritable linguistic free-for-all, where grammasites run rampant, plot devices are hawked on the black market, and lousy books — like Caversham Heights — are scrapped for salvage. To top it off, a murderer is stalking Jurisfiction personnel and nobody is safe — least of all Thursday.
This is the third novel in the Thursday Next novels, which tells of Thursday’s first adventures in the BookWorld while she “rests” from the real world. She resides in Caversham Heights as a part of the Character Exchange Program, lives in a houseboat with two Generics ibb and obb (eventually named Lola and Randolph), her pet dodo Pickwick who is warming her egg and her 108-year old Granny Next. She is apprenticed under Miss Havisham and meets lots of books characters including Trafford Bradshaw, Vern Deane, the Bellman, the Cat formerly known as Cheshire, detective partners Perkins and Snell and the only other Outlander (meaning a real person), Harris Tweed. As well as trying to learn her way around the Book World and playing her role as DS Mary, partner of DCI Jack Spratt in a totally unreadable novel in danger of being scrapped, she also has to battle Aornis Hades’ mindworm which threatens to erase all her memory of her eradicated husband, Landen Parke-Laine.
And that’s just the start! The novel is so much fun to read, with all the references to other works of fiction and it gives us another view of how books are created deep within the imagination of a person. This book actually urges the reader to read even more, to keep up with all the books mentioned in the novel (i.e., Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations). It plays on the reader’s imaginations and makes you wonder if there is indeed a world inside a book, where the characters go to BookWorld Awards, where Generics are taught in a college where they develop their character. It’s like Harry Potter but less of the wizards and magic and all that. The book is so creatively done that I bet you’d even try reading yourself into a book to see if it works. I swear, this book is like watching blu ray movies, but better!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Jasper Fforde is a genius. If you haven’t read any of his books, you really are missing a lot. :p
Trivia: This book creatively introduces some of the characters of Fforde’s other novel, The Big Over Easy which was still unpublished at that time this book was written. The Big Over Easy apparently is the result of Thursday’s intervention with the story to keep her temporary home from being trashed.