Lost in a Good Book (A Thursday Next Novel) Paperback – February 24, 2004
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“Lost [in a Good Book] is even more richly crammed with jokes, ideas and action. Brainier silliness is hard to find. A-.”
“Fforde [has a] head-spinning narrative agility. His novel is satire, fantasy, literary criticism, thriller, whodunit, game, puzzle, joke, postmodern prank and tilt-a-whirl. Okay, maybe Lost in a Good Book is a creature with more than the usual number of feet. But it’s exceptionally light on all of them . . . [Fforde] is irrepressible good company”
—The Washington Post
“Car chases, missing husbands, evil villains, a plucky heroine, and the Cheshire Cat. Jasper Fforde’s latest is mystery at its most fun—with a sci-fi twist.”
“[A]n analogue of Harry Potter just for adults . . . effortlessly readable and unashamedly escapist . . . . [A]n immensely enjoyable, almost compulsive experience.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A joyful read, full of puns, allusions, and sheer fun. Highly recommended.”
“Time flies—and leaps and zigzags—while reading this wickedly funny and clever fantasy. Would-be wordsmiths and mystery fans will find the surreal genre-buster irresistible.”
“Just what the doctor ordered now, in a world under the shadow of war, at the tail end of a long, cold winter . . . Lost in a Good Book resembles whipped cream—as sweet and light as the promise of spring.”
“Entertainingly surreal. Perhaps even more clever than its predecessor [The Eyre Affair], the new story offers a plot stuffed with enough coincidences and characters to make Dickens proud.”
“The book-jumping high jinks continue in Fforde’s equally whimsical Lost in a Good Book . . . its mix of surrealism, satire and adventure proves to be totally absorbing.”
—Time Out New York
“Fforde’s wicked sense of humor and wide-ranging intelligence make every page a joy.”
—The New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Fforde packs Lost in a Good Book to the rafters with sophisticated literary allusions, numerous interweaving subplots and wildly imaginative details. It’s obvious from the way he leaves things that Fforde has many more adventures in mind for his heroine; and with so many classics to choose from, Thursday will have plenty of allies on her side.”
—The Seattle Times
“If Thursday’s adventures prove nothing else, it is that reading can be wonderfully exciting, a lot of fun, and a welcome, maybe necessary, distraction from our quotidian cares.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Books (February 24, 2004)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 399 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0142004030
- ISBN-13 : 978-0142004036
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.88 x 5.07 x 7.73 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #432,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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The ladies on the Skyrail are helping each other work crossword puzzles and the answers to the clues come up, Meddlesome, Thursday, Goodbye. That plus the fact the seven women are all named Irma Cohen gives Thursday a pause. Plus her picnic gets rudely interrupted by a vintage Hispano-Suiza falling out of the sky on her blanket a few seconds after she runs from the area! When Thursday tries to explain to Victor at the LiteraTec office that she punched a neanderthal because she thought he had a gun on him, Victor objects that it would be ridiculous for a neanderthal to have gun. Thursday tries to explain that coincidences are mounting and that is also a waste of time.
The world is going to end and nobody will listen to Thursday. The world actually ended at the beginning of Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" because the space was needed for a new freeway and Earth was in the way. But in this novel the entire Earth is being turned into a pink Jello Pudding or some British equivalent called Dream pudding. Thursday duly reports her conclusions about the world ending on some day in December, but Victor will have nothing of it.
[page 69] He dumped my arrest report in his out tray and sat down.
"Thursday," he said quietly, staring at me soberly. "I've been in law enforcement for most of my life and I will tell you right now there is no such offense as `attempted murder by coincidence in an alternative future by person or persons unknown.' "
I sighed and rubbed my face with my hands. He was right, of course.
Thursday does not lead a dull life. For example, note this report of her day to husband Landen. Cardenio is a previously unknown play by Shakespeare.
[page 76] "Did you have a good day?" he asked at last.
"Well," I began, "we found Cardenio, I was shot dead by an SO-14 marksman, became a vanishing hitchhiker, saw Yorrick Kaine, suffered a few too many coincidences and knocked a neanderthal unconscious."
After the Eyre thing, women everywhere started to dress like Thursday who thought the whole chinos and a shirt fad was ridiculous. She asked the wife of a colleague dressed that way:
[page 79] "If Bonzo the Wonder Hound had rescued Jane Eyre, would you all be wearing studded collars and smelling each other's bottoms?"
Thursday's brother Joff was a minister in the Church of the Global Standard Deity and reported to her with some chagrin that the church had split in two for the third time in one week.
[page 81] "No!" I said with as much surprise and concern in my voice as I could muster.
"I'm afraid so. The new Global Standard Clockwise Deity have broken away due to unresolvable differences over the direction in which the collection plate is passed around."
Try reading this novel from the last page back to the front or reading each page forward but upside down. It won't make any difference. Anyway you read this book, it is colorful, imaginative, literary, funny, mind-stretching, and mind-bending. Combine JK Rowling with Douglas Adams and mix in a little Doug Hofstadter, and you've got Jason Fforde. You have a Dickens of a time in store for you. This is a Ffunny Booke! Tie up your pet dodo so you won't be disturbed in the middle of a good laugh and read on . . .
The remainder of my review can be found via DIGESTWORLD ISSUE#06b. Bobby Matherne.
In this sequel, Thursday Next is now a celebrity, something that is quite difficult for her. Her consolations are her new husband Landen, her dodo Pickwick, and the fact that she's going to be a mother. But then bizarre things start to happen,coincidences start happening rather frequently. Then she starts getting communication footnotes from her fictional defense attorney. As if that were not enough, the Goliath Corporation blackmails her into bringing back Mr. Schitt who was trapped by Thursday in Poe's, The Raven, in the first book, "The Eyre Affair".
In this book you will encounter encounter the Cheshire Cat (or more correctly, the "Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat"), travel into Thursdays memories - where Landen resides, and be apprenticed to Miss Havisham... yes, "the" Miss Haversham
Now onto The Well of Lost Plots.....
As this story begins, Thursday has become a celebrity based on her stuggle with Archeron Hades and the rebookment of Jane Eyre. She would like time to recuperate, spend time with her new husband Landen and pet Dodo Pickwick (plock plock), and return to the relative obscurity of her posting in Swindon as an SO-27 Literatec. However, Landen soon disappears; his history and their marriage apparently somehow eradicated by the ever dangerous Goliath Corporation, who are intent on forcing Thursday to cooperate in the rescue of their operative Jack Schitt (who was stranded in a copy of THE RAVEN at the conclusion of Thursday's previous adventure). While investigating the mysterious discovery of CARDENIO, a previously unknown but apparently authentic Shakespeare play, a bizarre sequence of coincidences eventually convinces Thursday that she no choice but to become a PRO (Prose Resource Operative) if she is to have any chance of resurrecting Landen and incidentally also deflecting the apparent end of civilization. Thus she arrives in the great library which houses the WELL OF LOST PLOTS (the third book in the series), meets The Chesire Cat (who annoyingly keeps disappearing) and is apprenticed to Miss Havisham, a woman with incredibly modern tastes for a character from Dicken's GREAT EXPECTATIONS. And the fun and adventure proceeds in Fforde's characteristically unique fashion.
This book has all the characteristics which make this series so enjoyable - clever wordplay in abundance, wonderful literary allusions, and the allure of pure escapist fantasy in which the reader can completely lose himself or herself. Not only is this an alternate universe, but we have another level of (un)reality incorporated through the introduction of the world of Jurisfiction, with its whole new methodology, vocabulary and methods of communication. Time warps are possible; the role of the Chronoguards (including Thursday's renegade father) is crucial to this story. The reader gets to learn more about many of the characters in the first book, and in addition meet some really unique individuals in the course of this adventure. You will probably be able to guess the fate of SO-5 operatives Phodder and Kannon, and might not even be surprised to learn that their replacements were Walken and Dedmen. But if you are curious about the meaning of the word xplkqulkiccasia, want to learn about the role of Neanderthals in1985 England, and desire to meet the aptly named PR operative Coredelia Flakk, you'll definitely have to read this book.
I have tried to furnish a flavor of this story in this review, because a summary is really impossible and a detailed description would both include many spoilers and at the same time not do justice to the author's achievement. One further note, in addition to the clever use of literary excerpts at the beginning of each chapter, a new device is employed through the occasional use of footnotes for a very interesting purpose. And perhaps the most amazing single episode in the book involves a literally Kafkaesque TRIAL in which Thursday participates. My only caution would be that this book is clearly intended to serve as a transition novel, or the bridge which provides the direction necessary to transform the original story into a fullblown series featuring Thursday's universe. Thus, while I loved it and found it extremely clever and a true FUN READ, it is much more a series of interrelated incidents (which lead to a very satisfying conclusion) than the sort of straightforward plot found in THE EYRE AFFAIR.
Top reviews from other countries
What the author does, however, within the absurdity of being able to enter the plot of books and the alternative reality in which he sets the story, is to introduce some really powerful writing, mostly based around the character of Thursday Next. Her grief at the "death" of her husband (the beautifully named Landon Park-Laine) is real and touching and her determination to have him returned to the storyline is the driving force of the book. It is the character of Thursday and her real and recognisable emotions and behaviour that grounds the book and stops it becoming silly although the delight for the reader is the increasing amounts of amusement to be gained from the absurdities.
I recommend these books for all those who enjoy words. I think that they woudl be very much enjoyed by fans of Terry Prachett.
Written in a style that makes the author appear self-congratulatory and strangely complacent as he waves the flag declaring ‘aren’t I clever?’, the book plays with language, names, and other literature in the way a sixth-form lad might indulge. I found the names too obvious to be funny and the puns sometimes excruciating.
This writer is a popular author with a big following, so my honest review will do him no damage, I hope. But this book wasn’t for me and I won’t bother with any more of his output.
I found it tedious, juvenile, and simply too ‘clever’ for its own good.
I'll be tearing right on into the next installment!
For a world that seems so regularly insane enjoy some pleasing insanity in your reading.
I am a big fan of Jasper Fforde's work. His books are enormous fun and intelligently constructed, with great appeal to those who enjoy literary allusion and satire. Lost in a Good Book offers unique perspective on well-known works - with Thursday's secondment to Great Expectations, a brief sojourn into Kafka's The Trial, and a Jursifiction Committee Meeting that takes place in Sense and Sensibility. These are not, however, allusions designed for intellectual consideration. Rather, Fforde's purpose is to bring pure and unadulterated enjoyment to his readers.
Lost in a Good Book employs many of the mechanisms that made The Eyre Affair a literary success, but most of its appeal undoubtedly resides in its protagonist. Thursday Next is the epitome of an independent and uncompromising heroine - defiant, brilliant, and perceived as the greatest threat to the villains of the piece. I believe that it is shockingly rare to find a female heroine presented as such purely on the basis of her personal virtues and vices. Fforde's faithful and consistent delivery of a character worthy of admiration is a large part of the series' brilliance. Combined with a humour that virtually leaps off of the pages, no aspect of this book speaks to anything other than an utter zest for literary entertainment.
So with some fantastically farcical literary crossovers (I mean, who could not love the idea of Miss Havisham saving Heathcliff from assassination?) and the greatest of comical heroines, Lost in a Good Book serves as perfect light escapism for the dedicated bibliophile. This book is the perfect means for reading relaxation!