Review of ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING by Jasper Fforde
THURSDAY NEXT SERIES
Viking, March 2011
BookWorld depends on Thursday Next. Unfortunately, Thursday has gone missing. Who's left is "book Thursday," the character who plays Thursday in the books. Unlike the real Thursday, however, Book Thursday is more the kind who'd hug and care than the one who'd shoot and solve problems. Still, the genres are in a snit, there is a shortage of metaphor, and it looks like a war is about to break out between Racy Novel and Women's Fiction. Without real Thursday to solve BookWorld's problems, can book Thursday do the job?
Author Jasper Fforde (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Fforde) has created a wonderful world in his Thursday Next series, complete with plenty of literary references, gentle fun-poking at the way the literary world works (not unlike a fantasy world of its own sometimes), and just enough adventure to give his jokes and fun a plot to hang onto. Fans like me have been waiting for years for this latest addition to the series (after 2007's FIRST AMONG SEQUELS). ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING doesn't disappoint--it's well written, engaging, funny, and so filled with stuff you know you're missing half of what's going on). For me, there were fewer laugh-out-loud moments than in some of the earlier stories--perhaps because Book Thursday gives us an additional degree of separation from the characters.
The evil Goliath Corporation played a huge role in the earlier adventures. Here, it's vanished--perhaps because it was vanquished by real Thursday. I think the story missed the strong antagonist that Goliath made in the earlier adventures. I also wanted to see Fforde's fascination with eBooks and self-published (AKA Vanity) to go somewhere. To me, these aspects seemed incompletely integrated into the story.
Some of this may sound negative. Reading it that way would be a mistake. Fforde is a wonderful writer, and any Thursday Next novel is something to celebrate. While ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING isn't quite up to the level set by the early books in the series, that is a very high level indeed and MISSING has its own moments of laugh-out-loud humor and real emotion (I almost got a tear when book Thursday looked in on real Thursday's family, knowing that they'd been edited out of her own universe).
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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