One of Our Thursdays Is Missing
Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series has made a fabulous dent in the fiction book market. With each subsequent novel, he finds a way to tweak and twist enough to keep the world set in its foundations while spinning a tale worthy of a read. With ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING, however, Fforde literally blows the lid off the whole thing and gives new life to an old friend.
The BookWorld has been shut down and remade. No longer a non-descript area of space, it is now as vibrant as the RealWorld. And like the RealWorld, that can only lead to problems. Now a squabble between Racy Novel, Dogma and Women's Fiction over a shared border is threatening to erupt into a full-fledged, knock-out fight.
Enter literary detective Thursday Next. As the genre war begins to take on life, the legendary heroine is brought in to broker a truce between the genres and set the BookWorld back to peace. The only problem is that a week before negotiations are set to begin, Thursday goes missing. Questions arise about the nature of her vanishing. Did she simply retire to the RealWorld, or was something far more nefarious involved?
Enter literary detective Thursday Next --- the fictional Thursday Next. She's been desperately trying to avoid being remaindered. It's a quiet life, complete with Designated Love Interest Whitby Jett. She receives a call from the Jurisfiction Accident Investigation Department to investigate pages from an unknown book that have been falling from the sky. More than just a mystery involving a book of unknown origin, this raining narrative is wreaking havoc throughout BookWorld by preventing other planned actions from occurring in other stories. As "written Thursday" undertakes this daunting task, complete with her aide --- the mechanical butler, Sprockett --- the journey will lead them across Fiction Island, up the Metaphorical River, and into the RealWorld itself in search of the real Thursday Next.
If this all sounds confusing, it can be. It requires a serious ability to suspend disbelief and, much like settling into the car of a roller coaster, just kicking back and enjoying the ride. And it is a ride. A wonderful, exciting, witty ride.
Jasper Fforde has done something with his latest that maybe most wouldn't expect. Rather than simply continue on with the world he crafted through five previous novels, he has broken the mold and re-crafted the world. In a way, this is pure brilliance, for in most cases you want to start with the first book in a series. By demolishing the previous world to re-forge it as a new BookWorld, thereby giving it some new rules, in many respects it makes ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING a new Book One.
Full of puns, bookish humor, fiendish thrills and, not to mention, dodos, if you've never taken a chance to open the door to the world of Thursday Next and her adventures, this is a perfect time to start.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on April 4, 2011