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The Well of Lost Plots
ISBN 0340825960 / 9780340825969 / 0-340-82596-0
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
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Word-of-mouth among readers often does more to make an author's name than any publicity campaign. That's certainly the case with Jasper Fforde, and The Well of Lost Plots will be eagerly devoured by his ever-growing coterie of admirers. Fforde writes playful and exhilarating books (which make delightful sport with the very art of fiction itself), and the experience his work offers the reader is quite unique. It's little wonder he has virtually created his own market. As in Lost in a Good Book and The Eyre Affair, this new novel is as much about itself and the whole world of books as it is about its putative plot. But a plot is needed so that Fforde can sustain his amazing inventiveness, and the narrative is kicked into action with the return of literary detective Thursday Next.
It's almost impossible to summarise the amazing adventures in which the beguiling (and confused) Ms Next becomes involved, but after she leaves Swindon (and her life inside an unpublished book called Caversham Heights), she becomes involved in the inauguration of a golden age of fictional narrative. But this turns out to be a very dangerous experience, and she finds herself having strange encounters with Dickens' Miss Havisham (even more eccentric than she was in Great Expectations) and enduring an unsettling journey into the world of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. But who is the villain laying waste to her memories? And will she come to terms with the fact that her husband Landen exists only in her mind?
As this synopsis indicates, The Well of Lost Plots is a truly unique jeu d'esprit. It helps to be familiar with many of the books being riffed on here, but even if you're not, this will be one of the most idiosyncratic and often hilarious experiences you will find a within the pages of a book. Jasper Fforde enthusiasts know that already. --Barry Forshaw [via]