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    Review of THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS by Jasper Fforde (see his website)


    Viking, February 2004 (U.S.)

    Thursday Next is in trouble. Her husband has been stricken at age two and now only Thursday's memories of him keep him alive. She plans on getting him back, but a memory virus is attacking even her own memories of him. And, while the world of literature is getting ready for its annual book awards and for the release of a new book reading experience (the biggest change since the upgrade from Scroll to Book), Jurisfiction agents are vanishing or being murdered. Somehow, Thursday, who has taken refuge in a terrible detective mystery under the character exchange program, must solve the murders, keep herself alive, and regain the memories of her husband.

    Thursday's adventures take her across multiple novels--from Sense and Sensibility to Wuthering Heights to The Stars My Destination (one of my favorites) to a variety of pot-boiler mysteries and to the mysterious Well of Lost Plots itself. In Thursday's universe, books are created from characters that are composed of words. Characters dream about moving from stock roles to having a backstory, a name, even taking over a book. Of course, there's plenty of danger and the Jurisfiction agency is responsible for ensuring that books aren't changed--say by having the evil squire actually fall in love with the chambermaid and letting them live happily ever after.

    Author Jasper Fforde (see more reviews of novels by Fforde)writes a very funny book, but with some serious political agendas to hone. His mix of clever ideas, cliche, and hackneyed plots (done tongue in cheek) from every new writer's first attempt at a novel kept me laughing and reading. I especially enjoyed the dramatic moment when Thursday nearly fell into the vanished boxing gym--which the author had apparently cut out to use in another book. The magical word creatures add a nice touch.

    This is a different kind of fantasy--so much so that I considered reviewing it in general fiction rather than fantasy, but it is fantasy. Fford's strong writing, clever plot devices, and well integrated agenda all add up to a superior novel. THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS is definitely one to add to your must-read list.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/06/04

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