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The Well of Lost Plots: A Thursday Next Novel Hardcover – February 19, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this delicious sequel to The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book, Fforde's redoubtable (and now throwing-up-pregnant) heroine Thursday Next once again does battle with philistine bibliophobes, taking a furlough from her duties as a SpecOps Literary Detective to vacation in the Well of Lost Plots, the 26 noisome sub-basements of the Great Library. Pursued by her memory-modifying nemesis Aornis Hades, Thursday joins Jurisfiction's Character Exchange Program, filling in for "Mary," sidekick to the world-weary detective hero of Caversham Heights, a hilariously awful police procedural. At the imminent launch of UltraWord, the vaunted "Last Word" in Story Operating Systems, Thursday's friend and mentor Miss Havisham is gruesomely killed, and Thursday gamely sets out to restore order to her underground world, where technophiles ruthlessly recycle unpublished books and sell plot devices and stock characters on the black market. Meanwhile, Aornis is doing her fiendish worst to make Thursday forget Landen, her missing husband and father of her child. If this all sounds a bit confusing, it isuntil the reader gets the hang of Fforde's intricate mix of parody, social satire and sheer gut-busting fantasy. Marvelous creations like syntax-slaughtering grammasites and the murderous Minotaur roam this unusual novel's pages, and Fforde's fictional epigraphs, like his minihistory of "book operating systems," are worth the cover price in themselves. Fforde's sidesplitting sendup of an increasingly antibookish society is a sheer joy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Fforde's third novel featuring English sleuth Thursday Next is an interesting, enjoyable mix of detective story, fantasy, and literature. Thursday works on cases involving the protection of the stories and characters of famous books, which can be affected and changed by people in the real world. In this installment, she enters the Book World itself. Fforde has a nice touch, never pressing on any one aspect of the story, but managing to interweave all of the elements, with a good deal of humor. The use of various literary characters means that it helps to be familiar with the works in which they appear, but, despite knowing very little about Anna Karenina, it is still very funny to read its plot written as a gossipy telephone conversation between two Russian noblewomen. It also helps to have read the first two books in the series, The Eyre Affair (2002) and Lost in a Good Book(2003, both Viking), but teens will want to read The Well of Lost Plotsanyway.–Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Series: Thursday Next Novels (Viking)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (February 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670032891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670032891
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring vacantly out of the window and arranging words on a page. He lives and writes in Wales. The Eyre Affair was his first novel in the bestselling Thursday Next series. He is also the author of the Nursery Crime series.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In his previous two novels, Fforde created a wacky, fictional universe in which "real world" characters could transport themselves into books, associate with the characters there, turn back the clock, and even change the endings. Heroine Thursday Next, has saved Jane Eyre from disaster, imprisoned Jack Schitt in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," and ended the Crimean War, but she has also made enemies of some powerful criminals, one of whom has gone back in time and killed off her husband when he was just a small child. Now, pregnant, she is the only person who can remember him as an adult, and her memory is failing. Anxious for a rest, she decides to go with her dodo Pickwick to visit the Well of Lost Plots, where all book characters, plots, and settings reside until they are chosen for novels.
In this most literary of Fforde's three novels, Thursday is an apprentice agent-in-training for JurisFiction, the policing agency that works inside books, her mentor and guide being Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Living inside an unpublished crime thriller, Thursday explores the Great Library, where the Cheshire Cat is librarian, sees the workshop for backstories (some used, some not), meets generic characters ("human canvases without paint") and "orals" (nursery rhyme characters), tours available settings (high-capped mountains, arched stone bridges, ruined castles), and watches as Miss Havisham joyrides in "Chitty Bang Bang." Holesmiths work there fixing holes in narratives, grammatacists try to prevent grammacites (gerunds) and mispeling vyruses from infecting novels, and pace-setters, moodmongers, and plot speculators work on new creations.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
From the first chapter of Jasper Fforde's third novel, you can tell that the author had a blast writing this satiric mystery that explores the creation of fiction. Thursday Next - pregnant by her eradicated husband, haunted by a Hades sister intent on destroying her memory, and a Jurisfiction apprentice to none other than Miss Havisham of Dickens fame - takes refuge in a poorly written and unpublished crime novel called Caversham Heights. Thursday expects to rest there until the birth of her child, but she and Miss Havisham discover that the death of another agent by a Minotaur attack might not be the accident it seems. Meanwhile, nursery rhyme characters threaten a strike for not being treated like other fictional characters, two generic characters living with Thursday begin to become more well-rounded, and Thursday tries to save Caversham Heights from being destroyed by the Council of Genres for being so hopelessly bad.
The more you know about literature, the more hilarious you'll find this fantasy. Characters are being manufactured in record numbers because Vikram Seth is planning a new novel, and no one wants a return to minimalism simply because of a character shortage. Heathcliff, Catherine, and the rest of the characters from Wuthering Heights attend anger management classes, and Mr. Toad is relentless in his competition with Miss Havisham for the fastest driver in both the Book World and the Outland. And if you're interesting in writing, you'll gain tips for keeping your novel out of the Text Sea, as Fforde pokes fun at hackneyed writing and incomplete character development.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gypsi Phillips Bates VINE VOICE on May 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
(Warning: Reading this book without having read the first two is extremely hazardous to mental health!)
Thursday Next is back! Hoorah! Being in grave danger from the Hades girl and having been unsuccessful in the recovery of her eradicated husband, she has left the real world (a/k/a the Outland) to spend her gestation period in the Book World. Thanks to her position as Jurisfiction apprentice, she takes advantage of the "character exchange program" to hide out in Caversham Heights (a not-very-good, detective novel that is still under construction in the Well). Thursday mistakenly assumes that this will give her a peaceful year in which to be pregnant, have the child of a man that never existed, and decide just how to get that man's existence back.
Jurisfiction (the policing agency of the fiction world) turns out to be much more exciting than anticipated, what with the Pro Catherine faction trying to kill Heathcliff, the Minotaur disappearing and something odd and dangerous going on with the new UltraWord testings--not to mention the everyday adventures of training under Miss Havisham!
On top of that, she's billeting two Generics in her home, attempting to defeat a memory thief, studying for her Jurisfiction exam, having morning sickness, presenting the Bookie for "Best Chapter Opening in the English Language" and giving advice to a lady gorilla.
Sure, the storyline's a bit unbelievable, there's a lot to keep up with, and I didn't always get the jokes, but all in all The Well of Lost Plots is another gem! Fforde keeps the funnies coming so fast, it's hard to breathe in between them. His Douglas Adams-esq humor, literary jokes and just darn good writing skills make this an A-1 book!
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