Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Thursday Next”

Author Snapshot Update: Jasper Fforde

I’m pretty sure I’ve expressed my appreciation for Jasper Fforde from time to time. He’s right up there with Douglas Adams in literary wit and as for style? I’m not sure who comes close to his genre-tweaking way of getting his point across. Playful, knowledgeable, and quite entertaining.

I was introduced to Jasper Fforde by a librarian who knew I taught Brit Lit. “You will definitely enjoy him.” Of course, with those words I felt a)obligated to try him out b)a bit hesitant–whenever someone tells me I will like something I inevitably don’t. Happens to you as well? Must be that human nature thing.

The first in the series. I do adore Jane Eyre. I’m drawn to capable women protagonists. I relish clever wordplay. And I’m hoping Thursday Next will become a series.

I didn’t care as much for the Nursery Grimes series. I also felt Mother Goose a bit grisly for my tastes, same for Grimm fairy tales. I waited for another Fforde to interest me.

Then I picked up his , which I started reading about the same as that other Grey novel came out. I shocked one of the progeny when he happened to see the title upon first glance. “Mother!”

After reassurances, accompanied by a quick summary, my son’s relief became evident when he learned the plot involved dystopian ideology based on quirkiness. He understood it to be my kind of book after all.

While fretfully awaiting the next in the series, Fforde pulls a fast one and comes out with another series The Last of the Dragonslayers. Although aimed at YA readers, I’m thinking it is really Thursday Next vacationing as a sixteen year old foundling who is coping with dysfunctional magicians.

First oneDragonslayer Book cover        Last Dragonslayer cover just read this one and now awaiting this one…

Eye of Zoltar coverIf you haven’t come across Jasper Fforde and you do appreciate a writer who wittily pokes fun at politics, literature, and popular culture, you might want to try one of his series.

Plus, it’s difficult to resist a writer who appreciates Volkswagen Beetles like I do. They are the car of choice. I came soooo close to spending my inheritance check on a bright red convertible Bug. Caving into family concerns who convinced me into buying something more sensible (I don’t regret my choice of buying a Honda Civic) I now live vicariously through heroines who drive VW Bugs as they dash about taxiing futzy magicians to and fro.

I’m still waiting for my next installment of Shades of Grey…ahem…

Serious Nonsense

Jasper Fforde is a seriously funny writer.  And while that statement constitutes a bit of oxymoronic thought, it is indeed true.  Fforde has basically resumed where Douglas Adams left off when it comes to creating parallel worlds that address some serious issues veiled in nonsensical prose.  Fforde and Adams are the grown-up literature of choice for those who appreciate Alice in Wonderland, yet want something not found shelved in the juvenile section of the library.

A librarian recommended Fforde to me last year knowing I was an English teacher and a voracious reader (i.e. Book Booster).  I began with The Eyre AffairHarboring a soft spot for capable, tenacious heroines, who nevertheless possess vulnerability, I consumed the entire series.  Moving on to the next Fforde offerings, I can’t say I embraced his Nursery Crime books; truthfully, I did not get beyond the first chapter.  When Shades of Grey (not that Shades of Grey) came out, I checked it out only to return it being far too busy with other projects and such to dedicate time to it.  Then came the warmth of late spring.  Aah–hammock weather.  I found time for Fforde.

I could spin out a satisfactory summary, yet why not let the invented wheel roll?  Here’s what GoodReads has to say: 

Shades of Grey 1: The Road to High Saffron


Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

This is the first in the series and it ended with quite a cliffhanger.  Now that school is almost out and the drowsy days (and the cozy hammock) beckon me, I look forward to continuing my found Fforde series.  I do like a good series.

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