Posted by: billpurdue | October 23, 2012

A new adventure for Thursday Next

Having just finished Jasper Fforde’s latest “Thursday Next” novel, I was wondering what category it might come under – if it fits into one at all. I wouldn’t put it under ‘Fantasy’ as it doesn’t really conform to what I usually think of as fantasy fiction. I suppose it would come under “novels about parallel universes” particularly about a parallel Swindon!


The novel I’ve read is The Woman who Died a Lot  and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m going to tell you a little about the plot, but forgive me if I get one or two details wrong: there’s so much to take in and understand – or try to understand-  in this book, that I could get muddled.

 Thursday Next is, or rather was, a leading enforcement officer in the “BookWorld”, until she was injured in an assassination attempt. She now finds herself looking for another job and, having been turned down for a top post in Special Ops, she is offered the post of head librarian at Swindon library, a branch of Wessex All You Can Eat at Fatso’s Drink Not Included Library Services. Thursday is married to Landon and they have a son, Friday, and a teenage daughter, Tuesday, who is a brilliant scientist and working on an “anti-smiting” device . At the end of the week the Almighty is due to release devastation on (ie. smite) a precise area of Swindon, but if Tuesday can get her device working by then, the town will be saved. Also Friday, having received a “Letter of Destiny”, is due to commit murder and sentenced to a long prison sentence.

Thursday may have survived the attempt on her life, but  the giant Goliath Corporation (which intends to take over the whole human, and non human race), is trying to replace Thursday with a number of identical beings, looking like Thursday in every respect. One by one these ‘day players’ as they are called are disposed of – hence the ‘woman who died a lot’.


That’s even less than the bare bones of the plot. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot going on, not to mention fairly brief appearances of people like Mrs Hilly, the Blyton fundamentalist who represents a militant  organisation that wants all the politically correct revisions of Enid Blyton’s books reversed and demands that the “sacred words “gosh”, “crikey” and “whizzo” [be made] a compulsory part of the English lexicon”.


Confused? Well, I must admit that it was a lot to take in at times and so the book took me a while to get used to. I expect if I read it a second time I would understand rather more of it. Probably if I had read one of the previous Thursday next novels in the series, it might have been easier. I’d still recommend it.

[Hodder and Stoughton, £16.99 9780340963111. a lot to get your head round, but very rewarding]


Incidentally Jasper Fforde has written a book called Shades of Grey  (2011) which has absolutely nothing to do with that book by E L James with a very similar title. It’s something quite separate from the Thursday Next or Nursery Crime series and according to one Amazon reviewer is “much more cerebral” than Fforde’s other novels.


I’m reading..

Hinterland by Caroline Brothers. It’s not an ‘easy’ read, but quite compelling


Watch out Amazon??

Next year there will be a new online bookseller called “Wordery”. The wholesale bookseller Bertrams is behind the move. I hardly think that Amazon will be quaking in their corporate shoes, but it might be good to have an alternative to Amazon.

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