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Bookmarks Issue: 
11-July-Aug-2004
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A Thursday Next Novel

A-WellLostPlotsThursday Next is a literary detective in BookWorld, where time travel whisks characters across time and place, and literary characters jump from novel to novel. In this third installment of the series, a pregnant Thursday takes a much-needed vacation in the well of the title: a limbo of 26 floors (one for each letter of the alphabet) beneath the Great Library, where books await publication. Through the Character Exchange Program, Thursday assumes a role in a trashy, unpublished novel on the brink of falling into the Text Sea, where failed novels perish. As she helps her fellow characters save their struggling book, she is drawn into a web of conspiracy, sabotage, murder, and the truth about her missing husband.
Viking. 400 pages. $24.95.

Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars
"Set entirely in BookWorld, The Well of Lost Plots is a crowd-pleaser par excellence. … Unquestionably, readers of the earlier Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book will find much here to re-ignite their ardor for his work." Joseph Milazzo

Hartford Courant 4 of 5 Stars
"… the best in a growing series. … This is Fforde’s most complex novel to date, filled with plots within plots within plots." Rochelle O’Gorman

Minneapolis Star Tribune 4 of 5 Stars
"Thursday’s adventures, improbable as they are, capture the sense that readers—as much as writers—create the books they devour. In this regard, The Well of Lost Plots takes things a step further since its concern is how books are produced." John Freeman

Oregonian 4 of 5 Stars
"At times the puns are so creaky you can almost hear the snare drum ta-dum-dum, and the action occasionally bogs down as Fforde rolls in the intricacies of his created world. No matter. It’s easy to keep going for the charm of suddenly dropping in behind the scenes of cherished book worlds..." Peggy McMullen

Washington Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"…somewhat precious and twee, but also great fun—especially for those with a literary turn of mind and a taste for offbeat comedy in the tradition of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, Norton Juster and Lewis Carroll. Indeed, one of the pleasures… lies in recognizing the myriad bookish allusions, some obvious, some very sly indeed." Michael Dirda

Denver Post 3 of 5 Stars
"[T]he reader is given an inside peek at how to construct characters, complete with subtext, irony and humor. … Next and her personal problems provide an excellent foil for the action; they don’t however, create much reader concern for her." Robin Vidimos

Critical Summary

This is a novel for book lovers who can properly reference each fictional character they have ever met. Seen as "belonging to a genre … impossible to pinpoint" (Denver Post), this quirky, clever book "brims with humor [and] imagination" (Washington Post) while jumping between adapted scenes from Star Wars, Hill Street Blues, Zane Grey, and countless others. Some critics find the intricate plot distracting; others deem it delightful. Yet all agree Well of Lost Plots is a worthy sequel in a surprising hit series that delivers on both the promise and the premise of its two predecessors, despite "a hasty finale and the convenient introduction of a deus ex machina" (Washington Post). Critics also universally praise Fforde’s sheer originality (when’s the last time you met Miss Havisham?), while noting that his offbeat, imaginative world will not please everyone. Thursday Next fans should be aware that yet another book in the series will be released in August 2004: Something Rotten.

First in the Series

The Thursday Next Novels

A-EyreAffair.epsThe Eyre Affair | Jasper Fforde (2002): 4 of 5 Stars, Summer 2002. Is Fforde’s series a literary treasure trove or too precious and twee? The first fifty page of The Eyre Affair, the first book in the series, will demonstrate whether Fforde’s world is for you. Fforde was also interviewed in our July/Aug 2003 issue.