First Published: 2012 by Hodder
My copy: lent to me by a friend
Memorable quote: “It’s highly disorderly,” he explained, “not like here. There is no easily definable plot and you can run yourself ragged wondering what the significance of a chance encounter can be. You’ll also find that for the most part there is no shorthand to the narrative, so everything happens in a long and painfully drawn-out sequence. Apparently the talk can be confusing – in general, most people just say the first thing that comes into their head.”
Much as I love the series it took me a long time to get round to reading this, the sixth novel in Fforde’s series, as I was worried I wasn’t going to enjoy it. As the title implies, this is actually a Thursday-less Thursday Next novel. Now Thursday is one of my all-time favourite literary heroines and if I could be any female character from a book I’d probably choose her because not only does she get to hobnob with iconic literary characters but she is also the perfect mix of heart, humour and kick-arse gun toting! So the prospect of her being absent from her own series just didn’t entice, but actually it works and I’m happy to report that this is a good and enjoyable book.
The heroine of this novel is the hippyish written Thursday from Bookworld who was introduced in the previous instalment. It’s actually really interesting to see her grow as the story progresses and by reversing the series’ usual scenario and having a fictional character trying to function in the Outland, Fforde is able to cast a wittily satirical eye on the real world. There’s also a Pinnochio situation as written Thursday longs to step into the trainers of her “real” namesake; a plot line which manages to be sweetly touching and at times surprisingly searching in psychological terms. The throwaway gags are still good, and bang up to date with references to Lindsay Lohan, the rise of e-readers and even Doctor Who fan-fic. And who can resist a robot butler? In short, despite my initial reservations, this wacky, wonderful series is still going strong (though later novels will make no sense to you at all if you don’t read the whole series in order). Long live the Thursdays!