Thursday Next is the main character in two series of books that take place in an alternate history universe, written by Jasper Fforde. In this universe, literacy is utterly important, and Thursday Next is a literary detective, who can jump in and out of books.
The first series is made of four books – The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten. The second series is made up of First Among Sequels, One of Our Thursdays is Missing and The Woman Who Died A Lot. A fourth book in the second series is expected called Dark Reading Matter, but there hasn’t been any news for a while.
As you can probably tell, the story and humour is quite surreal, but hilarious. Here are some aspects of the parallel universe in which Thursday Next resides:
- Genetic engineering is incredibly advanced, so pet dodos are a thing.
- England is a republic.
- There is time travel, but jet engines don’t exist.
- Bookworms invade books and change words to their synonyms.
Fforde has built a wonderful and well though out universe, but as the series’ go along, the story line becomes more convoluted and bizarre, as though he is juggling too many quirks and intricacies, which leads to a slight dip in the quality. Nevertheless I cannot recommend these books more highly.
Although the books would really appeal to those who are well read enough to get the references, they work well even if, like me, you’re not well read.