Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Book Review: "One of Our Thursdays is Missing" by Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde is a ffreakin' genius. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) If you've never read any of his novels featuring literary detective Thursday Next, or even his "Nursery Crimes" series featuring Detective Jack Spratt, you are missing some of the funniest, literature-loving books you'll probably ever see. And One of Our Thursdays is Missing, the sixth Thursday Next novel (and the first in several years), has Fforde at the top of his game.
There's chaos in the BookWorldthe result of a border war between Racy Novel and Women's Fiction, pure metaphor is being smuggled out of books and sold on the black market, and the question of what effect e-books will have is causing some panic. Literary detective Thursday Next has gone missing just before planning to lead peace talks between Racy Novel and Women's Fiction, so it becomes the responsibility of the "written" Thursday to investigate what's behind all of the trouble, while she's trying to ensure that her fellow characters perform as they're supposed to in order to keep the occasional readers of the series occupied. And while she's trying to figure out who she can trust, she finds herself being chased and threatened with death (aka erasure) by the Men in Plaid. (Trust me, while this may sound completely outlandish, it's truly amazing once you start reading Fforde's books.)
I have been a big Jasper Fforde fan since his first book, The Eyre Affair, in 2001. The whole idea of the BookWorld and the Outland (aka the "Real World") is so tremendously unique and multi-layered, and I've found myself re-reading passages because I have been so busy marveling at his use of language, puns and literary references. Thursday Next and her compatriots are such dynamic characters that live on in your mind long after you've finished reading. And when Fforde introduces a concept, such as the Emergency Snooze Button (when a book's characters can cause all of its readers to suddenly fall asleep in case of an in-book emergency), you snap your fingers and think, "Of course!" If you love literature and sly humor, you'll love Fforde's books. Truly one-of-a-kind.