Word-of-mouth among readers often does more to make an author's name than any publicity campaign. That's certainly the case with Jasper Fforde, and The Well of Lost Plots
will be eagerly devoured by his ever-growing coterie of admirers. Fforde writes playful and exhilarating books (which make delightful sport with the very art of fiction itself), and the experience his work offers the reader is quite unique. It's little wonder he has virtually created his own market. As in Lost in a Good Book
and The Eyre Affair
, this new novel is as much about itself and the whole world of books as it is about its putative plot. But a plot is
needed so that Fforde can sustain his amazing inventiveness, and the narrative is kicked into action with the return of literary detective Thursday Next.
It's almost impossible to summarise the amazing adventures in which the beguiling (and confused) Ms Next becomes involved, but after she leaves Swindon (and her life inside an unpublished book called Caversham Heights), she becomes involved in the inauguration of a golden age of fictional narrative. But this turns out to be a very dangerous experience, and she finds herself having strange encounters with Dickens' Miss Havisham (even more eccentric than she was in Great Expectations) and enduring an unsettling journey into the world of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. But who is the villain laying waste to her memories? And will she come to terms with the fact that her husband Landen exists only in her mind?
As this synopsis indicates, The Well of Lost Plots is a truly unique jeu d'esprit. It helps to be familiar with many of the books being riffed on here, but even if you're not, this will be one of the most idiosyncratic and often hilarious experiences you will find a within the pages of a book. Jasper Fforde enthusiasts know that already. --Barry Forshaw
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
Those new to the Thursday Next series may feel as if theyve fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole after listening to a few chapters of Ffordes newest mystery (after Eyre Affair), which is set entirely in other books. Reader Sastre gamely plows through the linguistically complex text and endows the heroine, intrepid detective Thursday Next, with a friendly yet determined voice that rings true to her Northern England roots. But puzzling details soon come to light, such as the fact that Thursday is vacationing in an unpublished book. Insightful listeners (and only the well-read should even attempt this audiobook) will come to realize that Thursday has swapped places with a character named Mary, who resides in a clichéd, and thus unpublished, detective novel located in the Well of Lost Plots. The Well, situated in the sub-basement of the Great Library, is a ruthless underworld where a host of wild creatures, including parasitic grammasites and fatal speling vyruses, abound. Sastre stretches her vocal cords to the limit, screeching for one character and swooping low for another. In the end, listeners will leave this zany literary circus with a ringing headache and a whole new appreciation for both books and audiobooks.
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