Monday, 6 February 2012

60/111 - The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

The latest in my Jasper Fforde reading kick has gone very well indeed.

Pregnant and being chased by the Goliath corporation, Thursday decides to reside in a 'lost plot' for the duration of her pregnancy and tries her best to stay quiet and keep out of the way as much as possible, but of course this doesn't happen.

I really loved the way that Jasper Fforde has made the internal life of books come alive. In this universe, a book, even when published, is not a static work, it is constantly evolving and living. The characters are real and they understand the lines they have to say and the parameters within which they have to operate, but they also have down-time between their scenes where they live their ordinary lives.

Thursday's home is in the well of lost plots, which are stories which have not yet been completed or published - if a book doesn't make it to publication, then the entire thing could be broken down and its components cast back into the Text Sea, which is an ocean of letters and punctuation.

Thursday takes up a role as a Jurisfiction agent who is responsible for ensuring that plots remain the same, that Grammacites don't eat all the verbs or punctuation, and mediating anger management courses for the characters in Wuthering Heights. The vastness of the imagination that has gone into this universe is too huge to outline here, but it's really enjoyable and magical. Here are a few things I really enjoyed from the book:

At one point, there is a shortage of the letter 'u' in the Text Sea, so Juristfiction decides to remove the letter 'u' from several words and call it a local idiosyncrasy, which is why American words like 'colour' don't have the 'u' in them anymore.

Main characters can at times be payed by 'generics' who just say the lines, if the main character has to attend to other duties, which is why so many people disagree on the quality of the same book. The idea is that the characters are constantly 'acting' out the story while people in the Outland are reading it, and like a play, each performance of their part is slightly different and gives you a different reading experience each time.

There is a black market in the well of lost plots where people can illegally purchase more exciting plot devices to spice up their novels, such as severed heads.

Some of the characters become tired of their roles and so there is a character exchange program in place for those who want to take some holiday. In the case of Humpty Dumpty, he is given leave in a crime novel, and so the story of Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall becomes a murder mystery for a time.

Really enjoying this series, I have three books left to go, and Jasper Fforde also has another series which I might read, too.

Next: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde.

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