Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Lost in a Good Book

by Jasper Fforde

Reviewed December 20, 2004.
Viking, New York, 2003.  (Originally published in Great Britain in 2002.)  399 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F FFO).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #5, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Lost in a Good Book is the second in the series of books about Thursday Next, the literary detective.  In this book, Thursday learns how to enter books without the aid of her uncle’s invention.

Normally, I’m not crazy about stories where people get pulled into books or computer games—normally, it’s difficult for the author to make it believable, because of all the little details that wouldn’t work.  However, Jasper Fforde pulls this off with flair.  He starts with an alternate universe and time travel.  He goes on to invent a Jurisfiction squad whose job is to keep things in line in books, despite the travelers.  So these people, many of whom are book characters themselves, take care that details don’t get messed up for common readers.

Thursday is recruited to join Jurisfiction as the apprentice of Miss Havisham, from Dickens’ Great Expectations.  She has already gotten herself into trouble with Jurisfiction by changing the ending of Jane Eyre, and must face a bizarre Kafkaesque court.

All of this is the background for a desperate struggle to recover her husband.  He has been eradicated by time travelers (when his rescue as a small child was stopped), and Thursday is being blackmailed.  His existence is the price demanded if she doesn’t cooperate.  However, this cooperation involves traveling into a book, and she must learn how.  Meanwhile, someone is trying to kill Thursday by coincidence, and her time-traveling father tells her that unless something changes, the world is about to end.

Well-read readers who enjoy cleverness and paradoxes will enjoy this book, but so will people who enjoy an adventure story with lots of action.  I do think my friend Shannon did the right thing in recommending that I read these books in order, as Thursday’s adventures in this book play off of her actions in The Eyre Affair.

Reviews of other books by Jasper Fforde:
The Eyre Affair (#1)
The Well of Lost Plots (#3)
Something Rotten (#4)
One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (#6)

The Big Over Easy
The Fourth Bear
Shades of Grey
The Last Dragonslayer
The Song of the Quarkbeast
The Eye of Zoltar

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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