Porridge: For those who find that toast just doesn’t cut it any longer.
The Gingerbreadman (Ginja Assasin): Someone had to replace The Windowmaker
Do you find this funny? Or do you not get this joke?
If you’re missing the humor, then you are probably missing out on Jasper Fforde, hands down one of the most fascinating, clever, and entertaining writers around. You’ll laugh all while marveling at the quick wit, puns, literary references and more.
Jasper Fforde. Brilliant writer. Talented photographer. King of the Literary Geeks.
If you call yourself a bibliophile and you haven’t read Jasper, hie thee to a book store or library posthaste.
If you don’t call yourself any kind of literary geek, go too. Fforde’s books are fantastic reads that anyone can enjoy; as a reviewer below said, the Thursday next series is Harry Potter for Grown-ups.
I suggest—as, apparently, does Jasper himself–starting with the Thursday next series. Read these in order:
The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten
I just finished Something Rotten and found it so enjoyable I keep lifting humorous bits of it, such the toddler speaking in Ipsum Lorem (a publisher’s space filler nonsensical faux Latin language). It’s as clever and pleasureable to read as the first three in the series, and I can’t wait for the next one.
The next Next will be out this coming July, First Among Sequels. You have a few months to prepare.
Michael M. Jones, of Green Man at greenmanreview.com, says about The Eyre Affair:
Fforde has created a truly unique, fascinating new world, filled with over-the-top characters and an unforgettable atmosphere. This is the sort of book Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett might have created if they’d ground up Dickens and Lewis Carroll for some highly unorthodox cigars, and gotten schnackered one fine weekend. The humor is unconventional, the literary tributes unmistakable, and the plot highly original. This is a world where people go to Richard III in the same way they might see the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the real world, right down to the audience participation. This is a world where just about anything can happen, and seems rather likely to happen anyway. Time-traveling literary detectives, extinct species brought back as pets, a villain worthy of any hero, and enough twists to keep even the most scholarly of English majors bemused.
Cat Eldridge, also of Green Man Review, says this about Something Rotten:
Jasper Fforde has managed to be even funnier, more punning, and just plain odd than he was in the first three novels.
Entertainment Weekly’s Gregory Kirschling says:
When Starbucks tries to open another coffee shop-it’s 17th-within the pages of the Hardy Boys series, Thursday Next cracks down. She’s the literary detective keeping the peace in this fourth installment of Fforde’s hyper-imaginative sci-fi comedy series set in an England where everybody is jumping in and out of books. Facing off against an evil “escaped fictionaut” named Yorrick Kaine, Next must find a cloned Shakespeare, pronto (or else Hamlet is lost forever), and help the good guys win a climactic match of a Quidditch-y game called SuperHoop (or else thermonuclear war ensues). Fforde has churned this quartet of books out at a clip-the first, The Eyre Affair, hit in 2002-and the essential one-jokeness of the premise is starting to show. But he compensates with enough furious daft invention to sate his cult fan base.
What we need, though, is an analogue of Harry Potter just for adults: a franchise brainy enough to feel like proper reading — playful and ironic enough to risk no confusion with the nubile elves and unbreakable swords of the appalling post-Tolkien ”adult fantasy” genre — yet as effortlessly readable and unashamedly escapist as the best children’s fiction.
Enter Jasper Fforde, whose first novel, ”The Eyre Affair,” introduced us to the winningly named Thursday Next and with boundless confidence — justified, as it turned out; the novel went on to become a surprise best seller — declared itself merely the first installment of her adventures. Thursday was presented as a ”literary detective,” doing business in a haphazardly distorted version of the year 1985 and using a machine called a ”prose portal” to enter the text of Charlotte Brontë’s ”Jane Eyre” — literally, in a profound, metaphysical sense — to rescue its heroine from the clutches of a charismatic supervillain named Acheron Hades.
Fforde’s plots don’t unfold so much as proliferate, with the author grafting on entire new dimensions at every turn, relentlessly driving the story deeper into postmodern complexity and mind-bending silliness.
”Lost in a Good Book” is a book in which one isn’t allowed to get lost. Fforde doesn’t ask that we suspend our disbelief. He encourages disbelief at every turn, while his plot comes back again and again, like a Freudian neurosis, in wild and increasingly inventive ways, to the image of Thursday Next finding yet another fantastical means of entering a work of classic literature and getting lost in it. Which for the reader, somehow, is an immensely enjoyable, almost compulsive experience.
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert