Jasper Fforde,
Lost in a Good Book
(Viking, 2003)

Thursday Next returns in Lost in a Good Book, another literary lark by Jasper Fforde.

On the up side, SpecOps-27 literary detective Thursday Next has solved The Eyre Affair, rescued Jane Eyre from oblivion, defeated Acheron Hades and faced down the monolithic Goliath corporation, trapping its henchman, Jack Schitt in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." On the down side, she's only allowed to publicly discuss toast and her dodo, her husband has been eradicated from existence through a strange conspiracy, someone is trying to kill her and Goliath Corporation is very very cross with her. Oh yes, the entire planet is about to turn into pink goo. Thursday's mission is to restore her husband, stay alive and save the world -- not necessarily in that order.

Fortunately for Thursday, she discovers she has the ability to jump into books without needing her uncle's now defunct Prose Portal. This is how she hooks up with Jurisfiction, a literary police force employing mostly fictional characters, Prose Resource Operators who keep order within literature. Thursday becomes the apprentice of Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, but don't let the rotting wedding veil fool you. Havisham is a tough cookie who hates men, drives like a maniac and wields a mean walking stick. Thursday isn't sure how this will keep her alive, recover Landen or keep the planet from turning to pink goo, but it probably won't hurt.

The action is rollicking and the pace fast and furious as Thursday hurtles form one situation to the next. As in The Eyre Affair, Fforde packs the novel with (mostly) clever puns and lots of literary allusions. A scene at a massive book sale is one any bibliophile can relate to. While the book is laugh-out-loud funny, there are a number of poignant moments as well.

Thursday is a terrific character, warm, funny and sympathetic. The insanity surrounding her highlights her humanity which in turn makes her vulnerable. She is someone with whom the reader not only sympathizes but identifies as well.

The ending isn't entirely happy as not all loose ends are tucked away, but Fforde promises future adventures with Thursday Next. Until then, you might want to pick up Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book and lose yourself in it.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 22 February 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.