Something’s Missing…

Posted on July 18, 2011

One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

When has a series run its course? When has a novelist who made his name ‘satiring’ literature gone too meta? Unfortunately I think Jasper Fforde has hit that mark with his newest release “One of Our Thursdays is Missing.”

I’ll preface this by saying that I loved his first book in the Thursday Next mythology. It is wonderful, well balanced and is just clever enough.

Let me begin to describe what’s going on in the newest. Although it is told from the point of view of Thursday Next, it is not the real Thursday Next. No, it is the written version of Thursday. See, this whole thing takes place in Book World, which is Fforde’s presentation of how books are constructed to be digested in the ‘Real World’.¬†Every genre has its own island, each with its own commentary from the author.

Turns out that the real version of Thursday Next has gone missing, and it is now up to the written version to find her. That’s about as meta as it gets.

Written Thursday gets chased by Men in Plaid (some ‘protective’ agency in BookWorld), gets a robot friend, Sprockett (my favorite character) and gets blasted into the Real World.

Can she find out why Thursday was murdered before something goes wrong at the peace talks? Will the white-bread version of Thursday be able to muster the rough and tumble, sex-having, mystery-solving lifestyle of her ‘real version’? You can find out, if you want.

I felt the plot and characters got bogged down in Jasper Fforde trying to do clever things. The first 1/3 of the book was barely readable. I’ll explain. So the way books are read in the Real World is that there is Book World. When you pick up your book and read, the characters in Book World act out the things that are going on to make the book ‘work’.

So Thursday needs to have an understudy, so she brings in Scarlett. Honestly, it really just doesn’t fit. And it fits into my larger theory that this novel was more nerding out about Book World than it was concerned with telling a well thought out story.

We all know that you can do it Fforde. ‘Eyre Affair’ is one of my favorite things in the world. You gave us an exciting, well thought out plot. You gave us a dynamic and flawed hero in Thursday. And you introduced just enough satire of the literary world to make it interesting. I can say none of those about “One of Our Thursdays is Missing.”


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2 Responses to “Something’s Missing…”

  1. Bill Edminster on July 18th, 2011 12:55 pm

    I really enjoy Jasper Fforde and I enjoyed this book, but I reservedly agree with you. It’s irritating that his new plot ideas force him to change the premise of the world he created in the previous book. He creates a world you want to know more about then abandons it to create a different world.

  2. Heath on July 18th, 2011 1:21 pm

    I mean, this was barely a plot.

    I really, really enjoyed Sprockett though. He almost made up for it. I would do terrible things for a robot butler (valet actually) of his ability.

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