Thursday, December 29, 2005

Book Review: The Well of Lost Plots

This is the third book in the "Thursday Next" series by Jasper Fforde. The women in my family discovered this series independently and quite by accident, which doesn't mean that this is "chicklit."

But it's not easy to describe what it is, exactly.

Thursday Next lives in alternate reality where it is possible to:

  • Time travel
  • "Jump" into books, talk to the characters (when it's not their scene), stroll around
  • Change a story by altering the original manuscript
  • Have dodos as pets
  • Eradicate someone from all memory, kind of a la George Bailey
Many books are mentioned. The first book in the series, The Eyre Affair, concerns Jane Eyre. The second book, Lost in a Good Book, introduces us to Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. The third book, The Well of Lost Plots, introduces us to characters from books never published. Sprinkled throughout are references to Sense and Sensibility, David Copperfield, Shadow the Sheepdog, boilerplate detective fiction, "White Explorer in Africa" type stories, references to Greek myths, the Cheshire Cat, Waiting for Godot, and some I've probably missed.

Don't worry--you don't have to have read all these books. But it does help. DD#1, who has read the first two books in the series, never has read Jane Eyre. She did watch the movie version with me earlier this month and said she understood the plot of The Eyre Affair much better. My problem is that now I want to go back and re-read some of the Austen and Bronte classics and see what I've forgotten or missed.

Because these books are set in an alternate universe, I find it takes me a couple of chapters to fully get into the rhythm of the book. I read the first two fairly close together and I've received the second two as Christmas gifts; now that I've read The Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten (Book 4) should be easier.

On the March Hare scale: 4 out of 5 bookmarks, especially if you like fantasy and literature (but aren't a literary snob).