Monday, January 25, 2010

"Lost in a Good Book" by Jasper Fforde

Summary: SpecOps agent Thursday Next is living the happy married life after successfully saving Jane Eyre in the first novel of this series and discovering she's pregnant.  However, Thursday's happiness does not last for long.  Her husband is eradicated--erased from history--and she is pursued by SpecOps agents, the Goliath Corporation, the Chronoguard, and a mysterious enemy who can manipulate coincidences.  Meanwhile, Thursday begins an apprenticeship with Jurisfiction, a group of people and literary characters able to move between books.

Musings: I had fun with the first novel in this series, The Eyre Affair, and the second book was no different.  Like the first novel, the characters weren't particularly exciting in and of themselves (I didn't care much about Thursday's missing husband or impending pregnancy), but the trove of literary allusions, silly puns, and building coincidences keep the book engaging.  For a reader acquainted with the classics, it's a lot of fun to visit literary persons from high school days (ah, 9th grade Great Expectations, how I loathed you at the time, and how I wished I'd appreciated it more now).  I especially like that Fforde always gives due treatment to Shakespeare and his history, as it's something I feel relatively well-versed in.  Lost in a Good Book even gives a nod to the Odyssey.

Of all the potential "super powers" I've read, I like Thursday's newfound one the most: the ability to move in and out of various books.  What possibilities!  If I had such power, I think I'd have to do all the childhood ones first.  The Secret Garden (although I'd go when the obnoxiously prim children were absent), The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (I would have to pick just the right thinking hat), Island of the Blue Dolphins (I always wanted a wild dog pet)...  

Fforde always keeps the action brisk and the emotions fairly light.  Thursday's husband may be gone, but she isn't so weighed down with it that she can't go jumping through books.  Many scenes were hilarious.  I especially liked the Kafka trial scene (even though I'm not particularly knowledgeable about Kafka, I knew enough) and the plethora of surnames spelling death and destruction of some kind.

At first the ending seemed to be building up a premise for what I thought would be a terrible third book, but thankfully Fforde makes an abrupt and much welcome change at the end.  Lost in a Good Book is a great humorous adult read for anyone who loves books.

- See my reviews of book one in the series, The Eyre Affair, and book three in the series, The Well of Lost Plots.

1 comment:

  1. Such a great series! I agree, the Kafka trial was hilarious :) The third one, The Well of Lost Plots, is my personal favorite.