- Series: Thursday Next Novels (Viking)
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067002502X
- ISBN-13: 978-0670025022
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 198 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Novel (Thursday Next Novels (Viking)) Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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Praise for The Woman Who Died A Lot
“Fforde continues to show that his forte is absurdist humor in his seventh crime thriller starring Thursday Next, a member of the Literary Detectives division of Special Operations in an alternate-universe Britain. [An] endearingly-bizarre fantasy world limited only by Fforde’s impressive imagination.” –Publishers Weekly
“As always, Fforde makes this wacky world perfectly plausible, elucidating Ffordian physics with just the right ratio of pseudoscientific jargon to punch lines. It’s a dazzling, heady brew of high concept and low humor, absurd antics with a tea-and-toast sensibility that will appeal to fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse alike. Fforde is ffantastic!”
–Booklist (starred review)
“Strap in and hang on tight.... Another winner for fans and lovers of sf, time travel, puns, allusions, and all sorts of literary hijinks.”
–Library Journal (Starred review)
“Jasper Fforde fans, rejoice! The Woman Who Died a Lot, the seventh installment in his Thursday Next series, delivers all the imagination, complexity and laughs we've come to expect from Fforde and his book-hopping, butt-kicking heroine.The Woman Who Died a Lot brings together the charming lunacy and intricate plotting that have enthralled Fforde's readers over the years.” –Shelf Awareness
“In Misery, Stephen King compares the euphoric feeling writers experience in creative bursts to ‘falling into a hole filled with bright light.’ Avid readers also know that feeling: A good story temporarily erases the world. British novelist Jasper Fforde has expanded on King’s simile in a wonderful seven-book series of novels featuring Thursday Next. Enormously knowledgeable about literary history, Fforde scatters nuggets for nerdy readers like me. By the end, all of Fforde’s myriad particles of plot, accelerated by his immense skill and narrative sense, collide, producing pyrotechnics and a passel of new particles to propel his next tale. I love the Thursday Next books, and when a new one appears, I don’t fall but leap into this bibliophile’s Wonderland.” –The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“This is the proverbial madcap lighthearted romp, full of hijinks, parody, and puns. Jasper Fforde does it well. It’s safe to say that if you enjoy that particularly British, Douglas Adams-style absurd delivery of wry observations, you’ll get a kick out of this one.” –New York Journal of Books
“The Welsh writer Jasper Fforde's wildly inventive books defy easy description — more accurately, they mercilessly mock the concept of easy description. Are they mysteries? Outrageous parodies of literary classics? Science fiction? Absurdist humor? Gleeful mashups of all the above?” [The Woman Who Died A Lot is] still big, big fun, with enough in-jokes to keep anyone snickering for a long time — especially English Lit geeks.” –The Seattle Times
“Quirky and surprising and funny. Thursday fans will welcome her return.”–The Free Lance–Star
Praise for One of Our Thursdays is Missing
“One of Our Thursdays is Missing, like other Fforde novels, is jam packed with spot-on parody, puns and wry observations about words and genres that will delight literary-minded fans of the series.” - Los Angeles Times
“There is no denying Fforde’s supersized imagination, linguistic agility and love of books, Books, BOOKS.” - Chicago Sun-Times
“Fforde’s diabolical meshing of insight and humor makes a ‘mimefield’ both frightening and funny, while the reader must traverse a volume that’s minefield of unexpected turns and amusing twists.” - Publishers Weekly
“One of Our Thursdays is Missing is filled with passages [in] which geeky humor jostles with genuine insight about the current state of fiction.… [T]ake a joy ride with the passionate reader who wrote this novel.” - Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“[With a] furiously agile imagination…Fforde has shaken up genres—fantasy, comedy, crime, sci-fi, parody, literary criticism—and come up with a superb mishmash with lots of affectionate in-jokes for any book lover.” - Miami Herald
“Fforde is a breath of fresh air.” -Kirkus
“Fforde’s books are more than just an ingenious idea. They are written with buoyant zest and are tautly plotted. They have empathetic heroes and heroines who nearly make terrible mistakes and suitably dastardly villains who do. They also have more twists and turns than Christie, and are embellished with the rich details of Dickens or Pratchett.” -Independent
“A riot of puns, in-jokes and literary allusions that Fforde carries off with aplomb.” - Daily Mail
“Fans of the late Douglas Adams, or, even, Monty Python, will feel at home with Fforde.” Herald
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 series of Thursday Next novels, which includes Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, One of Our Thursdays is Missing, and The Woman Who Died A Lot. The series has more than one million copies (and counting) in print. He is also the author of The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear of the Nursery Crime series, and Shades of Grey. Visit jasperfforde.com.
Top customer reviews
The Woman Who Died A Lot, the seventh book in the series, has a lot in common with Something Rotten, mainly that we're back to the real world after a major detour through book world in the previous volume. Normally I would lament the loss of BookWorld, but after the confusing outing that was One of Our Thursdays Is Missing: A Thursday Next Novel, I welcomed the reprieve.
The real-world setting gives this novel a little more direction, not that Fforde would ever allow himself to be constrained by something as flimsy as reality. Thursday still has to deal with the most dangerous job she's ever held (being a librarian), an impending smiting by an angry deity, Goliath clones of herself, and the fall-out from time travel being found impossible back in First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, Book 5).
Fforde does a few things brilliantly here:
1. Thursday is aging. She's older and injured, she hobbles around, has trouble getting up stairs. She's still a bad-ass, but she's just an older, slightly saggier bad-ass. Despite all the ridiculous situations she finds herself in, her character remains grounded in reality.
2. Fforde's writing of memory, memory loss, and its confusing effects is simply genius. Telling a first-person story filled with implanted memories, fake memories, memories some people share and others don't, sudden memory loss, etc., cannot be easy. Fforde pulls it off masterfully. Chapter 36 of this book might just be one of the most brilliant things he has written.
3. The plot is a little ludicrous, but that could just be my distaste for time travel. However, he keeps things rolling along at a good clip and manages this book to feel more like a "literary thriller" than any novel before it. It lives up to its cheesy noir title.
There are also a good many laugh-out-loud moments along the way. A Swindon/Szechuan Fusion restaurant featuring "steak and chips dim sum followed by hot Fanta in a teapot." A righteous man being corrupted by being at "a lap-dancing bar getting plastered and running up gambling debts while eating delicacies made from pandas' ears." Finding the inspiration for Scooby-Doo endings in an obscure work from ancient Greece. Plus some spot-on social satire reminiscent of Terry Pratchett on his A-game.
Tl;dr: This book is delightful. For the first time since the beginning of this new plot arc (beginning with TN5), I'm looking forward to see where Thursday goes Next. (Pun not intended when I first typed it.)
In this latest installment, more of her family is involved since Thursday's injuries prevent her from visiting the Book World (nuts. I miss the Book World).
Several pressing problems face Thursday in this book.
First is the Almighty has gotten fed up with people and has taken to smiting them. Swindon knows the date and time of the smiting and has evacuation plans in place, but would like to thwart the smiting via a system Thursday's genius daughter, Tuesday, is working on. Time is short and Tuesday can't get the system up and running.
The now-defunct Chrono-Guard has sent letters to some of the citizens of Swindon informing them what their careers would've been if the Chrono-guard hadn't been disbanded. The letters also contain information about how their lives will play out now, including how and when they will die. Most disturbing is Friday's (Thursday's son) letter about his future--which involves a murder and jail time.
Thursday must also deal with the fact she isn't as young as she used to be and she's addicted to her pain medicine patches. She's installed as head librarian at the local All-You-Can-Eat-at Fatso's Drink Not Included library, when she wanted to be head of the re-instated Literary Detectives, her former Spec-ops division. She must also deal with Goliath's synthetically engineered Thursday Day Players, impressive look alikes on the outside, but missing vital internal components. They keep showing up and swapping places with the real Thursday, forcing Thursday and her husband Landon to come up with passwords every time they separate, so when they are back together Landon knows if he's talking to his wife or an imposter.
And Aornis, she of the mindworm implantation that causes Thursday to think she has another daughter name Jenny when Tuesday is the only daughter Thursday has, is missing, escaped from custody. Jack Schitt and Thursday continue to have confrontations and Pickwick is still as clueless as ever.
If you have been following Thursday Next you will have noticed a trend where each story tends to get a bit more "out there". this is not abnormal for a series, it is in fact almost required or they become stale. But in the process, a series can leave a bit of what made them great behind too. In this installment Mr Fforde returns somewhat to a style and story that is much more tuned in to the first and second in the series than what followed. That is actually quite nice. I am not saying the story is a rehash. He just goes back to the basics of what made the stories good.
As always his writing is imaginative and fun, with clever takes on what we are and how we lead our lives.
This is well worth the effort and in a way regrounds his series. Some reviewers seem to think the story is weak, it isn't any more or less so than book 2 in my view, which I still think was his best in the series.
As before, this silliness is not for the faint of heart, you have to go with it, but it is always done with intelligence. and I am not sure there is a writer out there now that can combine the silly with the intelligent as well as Mr Fforde.