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One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde

01/06/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing in the USA - or Buy One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing in the UK

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pub: Hodder & Stoughton. 385 page small hardback. Price: GBP 16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-340-96307-4).

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Being a character in a book series that’s in danger of being remaindered can be a daunting experience. Thursday, that’s the ‘written’ Thursday, is frustrated by her paper-thin characterisation. Her fellow characters are annoyed she is the hippy-peace loving version of Thursday preferred by the real Thursday and not the sexy, dangerous one who readers would choose. I hope that’s clear.

In BookWorld, time can hang heavy. There’s no breathing or eating but you need to be constantly alert, ready for your readers, if only they would come. Being read is hard work but being unread can lead to being remaindered. Being shredded in BookWorld is quite a final experiment as characters and settings are reduced to text.

Our written Thursday has an understudy who she can leave in charge, just in case a reader turns up. This is handy because Thursday has a second job investigating accidents. Regrettably, she failed her first day at Jurisfiction, even though she was sponsored by the real Thursday. Our Thursday tries to make the most of her minor role but it’s hard to be tough when that’s not the way you’re written.

She is thrust into the limelight when a red-haired man suggests that Thursday herself might be missing. Our Thursday must use all her character traits to her best advantage confound expectations and save her real self.

‘One Of Our Thursday’s Is Missing’ is sequel to the ‘BookWorld’ series by Jasper Fforde. Previously the real Thursday has been the heroine of her own book in this self-referential world where she has generated versions of herself in the so-called true life adventures. The original Thursday works for Jurisfiction which polices BookWorld and so many of the stories cross between her real world and the land of fiction.

In this latest instalment we are treated to a BookWorld makeover and a cast of bizarre characters. Mrs. Malapropp has the best laugh-out-loud lines. There is also an extremely irritating dodo and a set of Russian characters from the darkness of Dostoyevsky all with extremely confusing names. All of this is familiar to readers of previous books in the series but this latest instalment offers more insight into the whole creative process. A great take on the world of reading and what we readers bring to the process but I would suggest starting with the original ‘The Eyre Affair’ which introduces us to Thursday Next and explains how Jane Eyre and Rochester created the true ending to that book.

Sue Davies

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