One of Our Thursdays is Missing
Author: Jasper Fforde
Publisher: Recorded Books
This audio book is narrated by Emily Gray (not to be confused with the remarkable paralympic athlete of the same name), and I have to say she is now my favorite narrator, beating out even Neil Gaiman, because her performance of this novel was masterful (mistressful?). I'm serious, she completely nailed it, and the way she entered into it so whole-heartedly made it a joy to listen to.
I rated this novel as a worthy read as soon as I'd finished listening to the first audio disk because I laughed my ass off listening to it. Fforde rambles on about novels and literature and stories, and grammatical errors, and syntax, and it sounds boring to put it like that, but the way he words everything, and the sly references and snarks he slips in about books in general and about certain classics in particular is freaking hilarious. I adored this novel, and Fforde is now on my list of favorite writers and must-reads. I reviewed Fforde's Shades of Grey not long ago
Here's something which should give heart to all you self-publishers: according to wikipedia, Jasper Fforde had received 76 publisher rejections prior to The Eyre Affair making it into print. He had been forcibly kept out of our lives by clueless, blinkered, self-appointed establishment censors of what’s readable and what isn't, what’s publishable and what should be banned. No more shall they rule. Self-publishing does!
The story is number six in a series, not one of which I'd read prior to this one, but they are all on my radar now, and Xmas is just around the corner! The previous volumes evidently consisted of his main character, Thursday Next, solving literary puzzles in the classics, keeping the books in the order which readers expect to find them when they open them. In this one, Fforde fords the river of change and decides to reorganize his literary world. Worse than this, Thursday Next is apparently missing, and it's up to her written version who is also, of course, named Thursday Next to solve a mystery which no one else seems to think exists. Oh, her butler does - he's an automaton which she rescued from being stoned (no, not that kind, the Biblical kind - the kind which true believers ought to be out doing to adulteresses and gays if they honestly believe the source of morality comes from their Bible! I for one am glad they reject the Bible as the source of moral authority even as they lie they don't.)
So (written) Thursday and Sprocket, wisely ignoring input from Pickwick, the pet Dodo, and Mrs Malaprop, the horse-creeper, start wandering around Book World, visiting the poetry neighborhood, and Vanity (publishing) Island to try and figure out who dropped The Bed Sitting Room on an unsuspecting neighborhood. And damned if she doesn't solve it. This novel was hilarious, inventive in the extreme (and I mean that literally) and magnificent. I can recommend it highly enough! It's the perfect thing to have handy if you ever find yourself trapped in a mime-field....