The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde (unabridged audiobook read by Elizabeth Sastre; 12 hrs on 10 discs): Every time I read another Thursday Next book I figure that’s the last one I’m going to bother with. Not because they’re bad – they’re actually rather charming – but because there are so many literary references that I feel I’m not really appreciating them as much as I could be. And I don’t want to bother with the prerequisite reading to catch up. Anyway, this is the third book in the series, and Thursday has settled in an unpublished novel for the duration of her pregnancy. At the same time, she is training to become a Jurisfiction agent, dealing with the memories of her eradicated husband being erased, and raising two young generics trying to figure out what kind of characters they will become. She is visited by her grandmother (and it just occurred to me that it was never fully explained just how old Granny managed to travel into the book world), deals with footnote spam, and attempts to solve the murder of several of her fellow agents. The whole thing is actually quite a lot of fun, and there were points when I laughed out loud at the absurdity of it all. I don’t know that I’ll necessarily continue the series, but I won’t rule it out either.

I would like to note that the unpublished novel in which Thursday stays is no longer unpublished – the story eventually became The Big Over Easy. I actually think my having read that book first made this one more enjoyable, since I knew the nursery rhyme characters would sooner or later be infiltrating the generic detective story. It was also fun to see the plainer origins of the often zany characters from that series.

A note on the audio: This may be better in paper form, since so many of the jokes are in the forms of footnotes and misspellings, but Sastre was up to the challenge and I never felt confused.

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