Ahhh the great Jasper Fforde… A relatively new author (he published his first book, The Eyre Affair, in 2001), he has so far published 11 books, although he supposedly has 3 coming out this year, another one next year and another one (at least) in 2014. He´s most famous for his “Thursday Next” series, although his “Nursery Crimes” ones are brilliant too! I can´t account for the “Shades of Grey” or “Dragonslayer” series, as I haven´t gotten my mitts on those yet.
So, how do I even begin to explain the Thursday Next books? I could tell you that they are set in an alternative Swindon in, well, the first book anyway, 1985. I could say Thursday is a Spec Ops agent with a special gift for ‘jumping’ into books. I could explain that the characters in the novels involved in the ‘jumping’ are self-aware, knowing they are in a book. However, one little post is too small to discuss all the amazing contents at length, so let´s just say they feature: time-travelling fathers and sons, giant evil corporations, the ‘Seven Wonders Of Swindon’, Neanderthals, imaginary children, real children, book-jumping heroes, book-jumping villains, FootNoterPhone, Advertext, military Mrs Danvers clones, gravo-tube journeys from England to Japan, re-engineered and dopey Dodos, a baby-sitting gorilla that is married to a colonel, clock-work butlers, grammar-eating monsters, talk shows, the Abridged Bridge, croquet ‘super-hoop’ finals, dessert-induced apocalypses, sabotaged ejecto-hats, Shakespeare characters, Presidents ‘for life’, politicians, Miss Havisham, jurisfiction, vampires, afterlife, ‘Women’s fiction’ and ‘Racy Novel’ engaged in border wars, cliffs of notes, an island of ‘Books Only Students Read’, Jane Austen landscapes, stalkers, a minotaur, and the dreaded cheese tax.
To fully enjoy the books, it´s helpful to have general literary knowledge, but not essential. Basically, if you are a fiction nerd, these are the books for you. If you are any type of bookworm, the references to all kinds of books, including the classics, make these the books are for you. If you are a first time reader and want to start enjoying fiction, these books are for you. Do you like/ love/ want to start/ enjoy/ hate/ despite/ are bored with/ don´t want to read? Then these books ARE FOR YOU!
Fforde especially has a creative mind that connects random thoughts, wishes and references to popular (and un-popular) culture, mixes them together, and churns out a story that will have you flying towards the last pages of the book. There is even an annual festival in Swindon (where else?) described as “a weekend of silliness inspired by the works of Jasper Fforde” dedicated to his work. This year, the Ffiesta will be held on 2nd and 3rd June 2012 at the Village Hotel, Swindon with a 1952 theme for those interested, I won´t be able to make it but count on me being there next year without a doubt!
So, my recommendation is to curl up with Thursday on your sofa and enjoy 🙂