Lost in a Good Book

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Readers familiar with Jasper Fforde’s earlier book, The Eyre Affair (2002), are already well acquainted with the brave literary detective Thursday Next who leaps about in famous literary works, battling the evil Acheron Hades and the mammoth Goliath Corporation. Clearly, this isn’t Kansas, Toto. Next lives in an alternate England, a universe in which the Crimean War never ended, genetic science has brought back the dodo and the Neanderthal, and literary figures enjoy the same kind of celebrity heaped upon sports players in the “real” world.

Lost in a Good Book finds Thursday newly married to long-time love Landen Parke-Laine. She is fresh from her triumph over evil recounted in the previous novel and a celebrity in her own right. The events of that novel continue to haunt Thursday, however: by imprisoning the villain Jack Schitt in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” Thursday has drawn the ire of his half-brother Schitt- Hawse, who just happens to be a Goliath big-wig. Schitt-Hawse has Landen eradicated by using rogue time-jumpers to do his dirty work. Thursday also finds herself up against Aornis Hades who seeks revenge for the death of her brother Acheron. With the help of her time-jumping father, Great Expectations’ Miss Havisham, and the other literary members of Jurisfiction, Thursday tries to recover Landen and save the world from destruction by pink goo.

Fforde’s tale is a clever, charming page-turner, a novel that will entertain not only science and detective fiction readers, but English professors as well.