Sunday, July 15, 2007

What Thursday Next did... next

How did I miss that Jasper Fforde was bringing out a new Thursday Next novel?! For the uninitiated, firstly you're a fool, and secondly, these novels star Thursday Next, a (now ex-) Literary Detective from a parallel Swindon, where croquet is the Beautiful Game, and Neanderthals and dodos are commonplace. In the first (and best) book, The Eyre Affair, Next realises she can jump into, and between books, and I'd say it's there that Fforde's brilliantly bizarre imagination really cuts loose.

In fact, it all gets a bit complicated, but it's also rather wonderful. Books are controlled from the inside, by Jurisfiction and the Council of Genres among others; characters are 'generics' until given personality; discarded ideas float around in the Well Of Lost Plots to be reused elsewhere; plot devices can be bought and sold (the more complicated and original, the more expensive); characters can hang out in back-stories when they're not being read; Jurisfiction agents communicate by Footnoterphone... and they're just the aspects I understand.

Fforde packs in so many brilliant ideas per page that it can all get a bit much at times, but it also means that you're constantly amazed, constantly entertained. And he mixes terribly high-brow literary allusions with characters called Landen Park-Laine and Jack Schitt. To be quite honest, the books bristle with imagination to the extent that they can end up just a tad messy, but they're the only glimpses into such an amazing mind that us mere mortals get, so they're worth cherishing. And when you're done reading, you can enjoy the books as beautiful, interesting objects in themselves, and then head over to www.jasperfforde.com to get the latest upgrades (corrections) and extra scenes.

3 comments:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Ah if only some novelists paid a little more (attention) to the stability of their narratives! Would there be quite so many "ya wot?!" responses from readers?!

MediumRob said...

I always wonder if I'm losing out by not reading them, but listening to them as audio books.

Am currently getting irritated by one narrator who can't pronounce "Acheron" properly.

AnnaWaits said...

How do the narrators deal with words that are deliberately unpronouncable? Or when they're talking in different fonts in the Book World?

Actually, I'd say yeah, you probably are losing out :/ !!