Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Well of Lost Plots (Book)

Murder by Minotaur. UltraWord. Mispeling Vyrus. Generics named ibb & obb. Footnoterphone. Plot Devices. The Scent of Cantaloupe. A Mindworm. The Union of Sad Loser Detectives. The Witches’ Prophesy. Jurisfiction.

I have not laughed so hard since I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Well of Lost Plots, the third book in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, is very funny. The book is set almost exclusively in the elaborate book-world that Fforde has created. Most of the humor centers on fiction and writing. As with the previous two books, Fforde includes just enough sentiment and seriousness to make the book work.

Briefly, The Well of Lost Plots continues where Lost in a Good Book left off. As part of the Character Exchange Program, Thursday Next has taken refugee—and maternity leave—in an unpublished novel. The book may soon be demolished and recycled. Thursday continues her Jurisfiction apprenticeship under Miss Havisham. Aornis has infected Thursday with a mindworm that makes her relive her worst memories yet forget her eradicated husband. In addition, Thursday has to solve a series of murders.

The Well of Lost Plots is a good book for those of us who secretly love trashy detective novels yet want to read something more intelligent. I admit that at times the book seemed sheer silliness, a series of gags strung together. The murder plot did not even begin until 150 pages into the book. I didn’t care; I was too busy laughing. On a semi-serious note, the book was a good refresher on creative writing and basic literature. When Fforde described the plot construction of a detective novel, I actually found myself thinking about all the detective series I had read earlier last year when I was on my mystery binge. The Thursday Next series is a nice balance to some of the longer, more intense science fiction I have been reading this year.

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