Title: One of Our Thursdays is Missing
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Fiction – Fantasy
Publication Date: 2010 (Europe release)
Thursday5 is stressed. Readership is almost nonexistent, her Designated Love Interest turns out to be a criminal, an unpublished book crashes in her genre, and to top it off, the real Thursday has disappeared.
There is a foul plot afoot, and Thursday5 must solve the mystery before the tension between Racy Novel, Women’s Fiction, and Dogma explodes into a war that could destroy the entire BookWorld.
Defeated by expectations
I’ve been looking forward to the next installment in the Thursday Next saga for at least a year: the previous book, First Among Sequels, ended on a big cliffhanger, and I was eager to see how things turned out.
As much as it pains me to say this…I was kind of disappointed. Missing felt very much like the middle novel of a trilogy: a lot of details and characterization that further the overall plot, but still leaves the main twists and turns to be described in the next book.
I think it was a case of not getting what I expected. What I got was good, and well-written and entertaining, but it wasn’t what I thought, so invariably I was disappointed.
Thursday5 is a great character, and I loved seeing her develop and become the individual she’s supposed to be…but she’s just that: a character; she’s just not the real Thursday. Which I know sounds bizarre, because they’re all fictitious.
Fforde is a fantastic writer, and I don’t fault him for my not loving this most recent book. I should have read the dust jacket first; that way I would have known what to expect coming in, and would likely have enjoyed it more.
Incredibly clever prose
Although One of Our Thursdays is Missing isn’t completely what I thought it would be, it’s still very much in line with Fforde’s witty, incredibly intelligent style. Lines like this made me laugh out loud, much to the puzzlement of Best Friend:
“The trip back downriver was uneventful and over in only twelve words.” (p. 338)
So simple, and so clever as to be almost un-catchable. Par for the course for Fforde.
I love all of the “supplemental information” Fforde puts into his novels. In The Eyre Affair there are quotes from Acheron Hades’ book, Degeneracy for Pleasure and Profit; in the others there are quotes from Thursday’s diaries, Bowden’s diaries, and Thursday’s biography (by Millon de Floss). I wish that Fforde, or someone, would actually write all of these things.
This tradition continues in Missing, in which all of the quotes are from various editions of Bradshaw’s BookWorld Companion; sometimes I feel like Fforde had a lot more jokes to tell, and was just looking for excuses to tell them:
“Places to eat #28: Inn Uendo, 3578 Comedy Boulevard. Made famous as the meeting place of the Toilet-Humor Appreciation Society, most of whose motions are passed while members are seated at the bar. The Double Entendre Bar and Grill is also highly recommended, and if you require satiating, the friendly waitstaff will be able to offer relief at the table.” (p. 227)
Questions for you
I hate it when books (or aspects of books) are disappointing, but in this case it feels like it’s my fault for not paying attention. Does anyone else have this problem? I want to appreciate this book on its own merit, so should I give it another chance? I’d love to know what you think.
“To a text-based life-form, unpredictable syntax and poor grammar is a source of huge discomfort. Ill-fitting grammar are like ill-fitting shoes. You can get used to it for a bit, but then one day your toes fall off and you can’t walk to the bathroom. Poor syntax is even worse. Change word order and a sentence useless for anyone Yoda except have you.” (p. 20)
“ ‘…If I fire you too fast, you’ll be embedded in the back of the laboratory.’
‘What would happen then?’
‘Paper over you, I suppose.’ ” (p. 181)