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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Lost in a Good Book

by
Jasper Fforde


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Lost in a Good Book



Title: Lost in a Good Book
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Novel
Written: 2002
Length: 399 pages
Availability: Lost in a Good Book - US
Lost in a Good Book - UK
Lost in a Good Book - Canada
Lost in a Good Book - India
Délivrez-moi ! - France
In einem anderen Buch - Deutschland
Persi in un buon libro - Italia
Perdida en un buen libro - España

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Our Assessment:

B+ : good, inventive fun

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 24/8/2002 Jemima Hunt
The NY Times Book Rev. . 22/6/2003 Bruno Maddox
Salon . 13/3/2003 Laura Miller
Sunday Telegraph . 4/8/2002 Susanna Yager
The Washington Post . 6/4/2003 Lloyd Rose


  From the Reviews:
  • "There is a certain self-delighted quality to all this cleverness that would probably become annoying if Fforde weren't so resolutely unclever about his own writing." - Bruno Maddox, The New York Times Book Review

  • "Suspend belief and let yourself be entertained by a witty romp through a fantasy land where it is literally possible to be lost in a good book." - Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph

  • "It would be easy for all this to get too twee for words, if the words weren't Fforde's and he didn't have a head-spinning narrative agility. His novel is satire, fantasy, literary criticism, thriller, whodunit, game, puzzle, joke, postmodern prank and tilt-a-whirl. Okay, maybe Lost in a Good Book is a creature with more than the usual number of feet. But it's exceptionally light on all of them. That said, this is definitely one for the English majors." - Lloyd Rose, The Washington Post

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Lost in a Good Book continues the tale of Thursday Next, a Literary Detective who saved the day (or at least made Jane Eyre what it is today) in The Eyre Affair. It's still 1985, and Thursday is adjusting to married life, trying to teach her pet dodo, Pickwick, to stand on one leg, and trying to avoid some of the publicity stunts the Special Operations Network expect her to partake in.
       The world of the Thursday Next novels is similar to ours, but not quite the same. Long distance travel does not involve airplanes, neanderthals have been reengineered (and are used as cheap labour) -- and, above all, literature really matters. Really matters.
       The dominant entity in this world is the Goliath Corporation -- hard to take serious, but very powerful. Goliath representative Schitt-Hawse wants something from Thursday: the release of Jack Schitt from Poe's 'The Raven' -- and he's not beyond a few dirty tricks, including eradicating her husband (changing the course of time to wipe out all traces of him) in order to blackmail her into doing his bidding. Thursday also has other things to deal with: a lost Shakespearean play, Cardenio, has turned up -- and for once it looks like this is actually an authentic Shakespearean work --, while her time-travelling (and in many ways non-existent father) needs her help in saving the world from destruction (everything on earth is about to turn into a pink, gooey substance). She also eventually joins Jurisfiction, (conveniently) escaping into books and helping police the world's repository of stories and novels.
       It's a convoluted mess of plots: there are time loops and a political power play (using the newly-discovered Shakespeare) and all manner of convenient escapes and coincidences. Still, Lost in a Good Book is a fun romp, the details throughout very enjoyable (and creative). From communication via footnotes to the book-adventures (within and without) it's good literary fun -- as well as simply being adventure of the enjoyable (if entirely fantastical) sort.
       Fforde has a nice touch with the details, an off-beat sort of humour that keeps the reader surprised (and chuckling), suggesting for example:

     "You're the Cheshire Cat, aren't you ?" I asked.
     "I was the Cheshire Cat," he replied with a slightly aggrieved air. "But they moved the county boundaries, so technically speaking I am now the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat, but it doesn't have the same ring to it."
       Fforde doesn't try too hard to make the story too believable (even allowing for the fantastic elements) -- and so inventions or occurrences of convenience pop up a bit too often (though he does have a nice ongoing bit about too many coincidences popping up in the same place). The storylines, for the most part, are B-level adventure, but it's the invention (literary and otherwise) and the humour that lift Fforde's book considerably above your average fantastical thriller.
       A very good light read.

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Links:

Lost in a Good Book: Reviews: Jasper Fforde: Other books by Jasper Fforde under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Jasper Fforde lives in Wales.

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© 2003-2012 the complete review

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