Hello, friends! Today’s Sunday Review was actually a bit of a surprise to me because I hadn’t really intended on reviewing this author or any of his books. It’s hard to write about a series or an author that you love so much, but that you’re just not sure other people will love as much as you, or even really get. But I decided that, having just finished the sixth book in the series, and possibly the best sequel, I couldn’t not share him with you.
I am talking about the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde, who, if you haven’t heard, is a hilarious and very talented author (at least, in my opinion). Now, this might get a little confusing, but the Thursday Next series of books take place in the fictionalized world of, well, fiction. For any bibliophiles out there, just try to imagine that “what we read in books is just a small part of a larger BookWorld that exists behind the page.” This means that all of your most beloved characters, from Harry Potter to Elizabeth Bennett, exist beyond the pages of their books and actually interact with each other, hang out, grab fictional coffee and do whatever bookpeople do in their time off, or the time they’re not being read that is.
Okay, so you’ve got the concept, now if there is to be a BookWorld, it of course requires bureaucracy, which comes in the form of the Council of Genres, and is policed by Jurisfiction. This is where our main character Thursday Next comes in, an agent of Jurisfiction and a real living person from the real world (where we live) who has the ability to enter books, and therefore the BookWorld. With me so far? I know this is a lot to swallow, especially a heroine named Thursday Next, but trust me when I say that a little confusion is a small price to pay for a lot of irreverent, fiction-referencing humor.
Now, I understand that these books are not going to be for everyone, but as someone who loves books, constantly has something to read on her nightstand, goes through books on her kindle like they’re going out of style and basically just can’t get enough of fiction, I fell in love with Jasper Fforde and the BookWorld he created. His characters are fun because most of them are familiar (Miss Havisham from Great Expectations for example) and the settings are, too (the roof of the burning mansion from Jane Eyre). But even the new and unfamiliar characters and settings are richly described and fleshed out – this fiction and real world crossover feels just as real to me as my own neighborhood or Hogwarts castle.
I highly recommend giving Jasper Fforde a try, starting with the first book, of course – The Eyre Affair. From there the series continues as follows:
- The Eyre Affair
- Lost in a Good Book
- The Well of Lost Plots
- Something Rotten
- First Among Sequels
- One of Our Thursdays is Missing
- The Woman Who Died a Lot
I most recently finished the sixth book in the series – One of Our Thursdays is Missing – which actually centers on the written Thursday Next who must search for the missing real Thursday Next on whom her books are based. I did warn you that it can get confusing, didn’t I? Just wait until you get to the book where they introduce time travel. Yeah, really confusing, but still awesome and totally worth it!
I think the thing that really makes this series by Jasper Fforde great is that he really challenges readers to think, but not in an annoying or obvious way. He simply presents an alternate reality that is just so tantalizing to think about. Sure, it’s great imagining a world beyond our favorite books, where our favorite characters live and breathe beyond the page, but imagine being those fictional characters. Imagine living in two dimensions, seeing the world only as it’s described and having to please an ever-decreasing readership. It’s something to think about, at least to a book lover like me, anyway.
Well, I think I’ve left you with enough information to digest. I hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful and you have a great week ahead of you! As always, thanks for reading :), Kristi