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One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

Pub Date:

One of Our Thursdays is Missing
Thursday Next Series #6
Jasper Fforde

Viking Penguin
3-11-11
Hardcover/384 pages
ISBN: 9780670022526
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". . . stunning and fascinating fiction."

Vertiginous slip sideways into the world of books.

Thursday Next, the written one, has been sent to discover what happened at the site of a book crash. At first, it seems like the usual assignment for a character in BookWorld nominally attached to Jurisfiction, and something well within Thursday’s skills, a non-event that an A8 character could handle. What Thursday finds is more than her superiors at Jurisfiction suspected. The written Thursday wishes she was the real Thursday Next, except the real Thursday is missing and peace talks between Speedy Muffler and Racy Novels are in danger if the real Thursday doesn’t appear.

There is nothing like beginning a book that on its surface seems to be a straight forward mystery and ending up slipping sideways through a crack in the world into a parallel reality that is made up of words. It is not just the strange made up words that Jasper Fforde uses to salt his mystery, but the premise that there is an alternate world where the characters have lives of their own and inhabit a world of words and syntax and grammar with as much heft and weight as the real world. One of Our Thursdays is Missing is the fifth entry in Fforde’s Thursday Next series, and is far from slipping into obscurity as the characters in the book claim. This is real and immediate and full of the paraphernalia and inside prejudices and views of publishing and writing.

From the self contained worlds of books and the weapons and devices that carry the written Thursday to and from the Real World back to BookWorld, this is stunning and fascinating fiction. Famous writers have their own streets and avenues and Fforde’s views on Vanity Publishing and e-books is on display, not without a jab to the funny bone and a puzzle or three for the brain.

Although the clues are a little hard to follow, as indeed it is hard to follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole, the story never lacks for intrigue or fascinating characters. The world is different, but not so different that it is not recognizable. Fforde’s BookWorld is a mind bending slip sideways into an order world of sense and aspirations that, as Thursday Next, the written one, observes “…is as orderly as people in the RealWorld Hope their won world to be—it isn’t a mirror, it’s an aspiration.” I agree with Sprockett, the cogwheel automaton that humans “are the most gloriously bizarre creatures,” especially when they are writers. Bravo, Jasper.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell