12 June 2011

Books: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde (2002)

In the second adventure of literary detective Thursday Next, author Jasper Fforde expands his alternate universe of 1985 by laying another reality within it, the Jurisfiction. Housed in the Great Library, the Jurisfiction organization fights against everything from vicious creatures that eat vocabulary, to rowdy groups, who travel through fiction trying to eliminate obscenity and profanity from it.

Off her triumph of defeating Hades, and making the ending of Jane Erye better for most people, she becomes a celebrity. Of course, The Goliath Corporation rules with an iron fist, and it becomes clear that Thursday cannot tell the truth. She also finds out that someone is trying to kill her by using a string of coincidences. When a new Shakespeare play, long thought lost, pops up, which causes all sorts of political maneuvering due to an election that is up coming, Thursday’s life becomes even more complicated, as someone within Goliath has eradicated her husband, Landen. And then, of course, her ChronoGuard father informs her that the world will end on Thursday afternoon.

So, in the end, all her other issues become moot because of this.

Like the first book, Lost in a Good Book is a triumph of prose and imagery over character, thus a lot of the characters are not that well drawn out, with the exception of Thursday and the hoot of woman Mrs. Havisham from Charles Dickens classic novel Great Expectations. The concept of “book jumping” is clever, and allows fictional characters to interact with real people. Thus when Mrs. Havisham gets into a car, it’s a delight to read an 18th century spinster becoming a hazard to other citizens.

There are a lot of great notions in this world, which is great on one hand, but it’s at the cost of characterization of the other people. They do -these people - interesting things, but are not interesting people. Does that make sense?

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