The third book in the delightful Thursday Next series. She’s a literary detective.

Publication year: 2004
Format: print
Page count: 365
Publisher: Hodder and Stougthon

Goliath Corporation has erased Thursday’s husband from existence. However, she still remembers him. But after the events in the previous book, she decided to take a break from Goliath and other dangers. So, she participates in the Character Exchange Programme and settles into some relaxing quiet time in an unpublished crime novel “Caversham Heights”.

However, she gets two Generic Characters as roommates. At first, they don’t have personality, sense of humor, or… much of anything else, really. But not for long, with Thursday’s guidance. Also, her Grandmother moves in and at a good time, too, because Thursday’s enemies are closing in. The book is under threat of being demolished and the characters are trying to stop that. Thursday promises to do what she can. And then, the three witches appear, with prophesies.

This was a wacky ride, perhaps even funnier than the two previous ones, because it happens completely inside books. Thursday’s career at Jurisfiction (they police fiction books) takes off in earnest and her trainer, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, becomes a major character in this book.

I rather liked the characters and loved the references to various other books (and other media). For example, Havisham and Thursday take part in rage counseling session for characters in “Wuthering Heights” which was a hoot. And there’s an exchange at a bar which sounds suspiciously similar to a one in a certain hive of scum and villainy.

Humor is hard to write and not everyone enjoys the same brand of humor. But I really like Fforde’s!

There are some inconsistences, of course, (like how can you at the same time expect characters to behave only as written and sue them for the same things?) but I had too good time to really care about them. However, the plot line about Thursday’s husband isn’t resolved in this book.

“Failure concentrates the mind wonderfully. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.”
“We all aspire to be ourselves, an original character in a litany of fiction so vast that we know we cannot.”
“To take so much punctuation in one hit initially sounds audacious, but perhaps the thief thought no one would notice as most readers never get that far into Ulysses—you will recall the theft of chapter sixty-two from Moby-Dick, where no one noticed?”
“Books may look like nothing more than words on a page, but they are actually an infinitely complex imaginotransference technology that translates odd, inky squiggles into pictures inside your head.”