Lost in a Good Book Jasper Fforde

Lost in a Good Book

First Published 2002
372 Pages
Date Read
September 2002

To give you an idea of what this book is about is rather simple. Due to the movement of certain county boundaries one of the characters in this book know refers to himself (in order to be technically correct) as the "Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat", but he does still smile a lot and occassional vanish.

Like the first in the series this book is set in an alternate, and very surreal, 1985. Having defeated Acheron Hades in the first book Thursday Next has returned to the Swindon Literatec Office and married Landen Parke-Laine. Life though is going to be anything but ordinary.

She finds she is a celebrity now, having defeated Hades and altered the ending of Jane Eyre - most people thinking for the better and so she is being used by the PR department to show the positive side of Special Operations, and is reluctantly appearing on TV chat shows and meeting members of the public, but wants to draw the line at the thought of the Thursday Next Workout Video.

In addition to this circus she has to get on with her job, and is sent to investigate claims of a lost Shakespearean manuscript having been discovered in the previously uncatalogued library of one of England noble houses.

Life seems to back to normal until she discovers that her husband died thirty eight years earlier at the age of two years, and she is the only person with a memory of him. Enter the Goliath Corporation and their operative Mr. Schitt-Hawse, half brother to the previous operative, Mr. Jack Schitt, trapped in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven in the first book. They want him back and are willing to play dirty in order to get him.

There is such a lot going on in this book, and most of it is bizarre. From meeting various fictional characters, taking trips in various classics of literature, some fairly odd coincidences, migrations of re-engineered Woolly Mammoths and a political campaign - it's a wonder it all fits in this novel without seeming a complete incomprehensible mess.

But the author has managed to blend all this into a compelling story, albeit a very strange surreal story. I am now just waiting for the third book.

The only downer I found about the whole book came from its marketing. On the back of the book it's described as Fiction: General. On Amazon it's listed as Crime, Thrillers & Mysteries. Well I'm not too sure here but a story involving an alternate Earth, various strange technologies including re-engineering of extinct species and the ability to psychically enter fictional worlds would to me classify this in fantasy or science fiction. Maybe the fact that it has a fairly high literary content must make it too serious a piece of literature for us in the sf-world. But that greivance aside, this is a wonderful book and you should enjoy it.