October 02, 2012

BOOKS: The Woman Who Died a Lot, Jasper Fforde (2012)

Seventh in the Thursday Next series.

As is generally the case with Fforde, much of the plot would sound absolutely baffling in summary, and this is not a series that's easy to jump into mid-stream; the world that Fforde has built is, while spectacularly consistent in its internal logic, intricate enough and filled with enough running jokes that it's easier to start from the beginning. (But they're all delightful books, so you absolutely should go back to the beginning and start with The Eyre Affair.)

When we open, we find Thursday in retirement, or at least semi-retirement, from her career as one of the officers policing the Bookworld, that reality in which all fictional characters live. She's accepted what should be a cushy job as Swindon's new librarian, but even there, she finds herself caught up in the evil schemes of Jack Schitt from Goliath Industries.

Fforde is fond of structuring the Next novels around what appear to be multiple unrelated plotlines that are ingeniously tied together in the final chapters; among the plot elements this time are the paradoxes of time travel, the fondness of dodos for The Dukes of Hazzard, the 13th-century manuscript Bonkeing Kinges for Pleasure and Profite, and a good old-fashioned smiting (straight from the Hand of God Himself!).

Fforde's Next novels are funny and fizzy and filled with logic that is dazzlingly precise in its silliness, and this one is no exception. Another solid addition to the series.

No comments: