Wednesday 27 June 2012

Poor Yorrick

So, on the subject of fantasy writing lets go back to a bit of Jasper Fforde. I reviewed The Eyre Affair nearly three years ago and then Creature and I started on 'Lost in a Good Book' but it has lain unfinished all this time. I have been very absorbed in my audiobooks recently while painting, I had promises and offers of assistance but am mostly doing it by myself (ok, will get around to some pictures of that too). I requested 'Something Rotten' from the library, and it did not disappoint. Although you are on familiar territory, same characters, same themes, he still manages to surprise and delight. At the end it felt like the whole book was one very long telegraphed joke when the fate of Yorrick Kaine is the source of some pity from the gathered characters and Hamlet (yes, that Hamlet) declaims 'Alas!'

The Goliath Corporation is still going strong and Yorrick is waiting for President George Formby to die so he can take over and bring about the end of the world as they know it. Only our hero Thursday Next can save the day, via a motorway service station that serves as a gateway to the afterlife and a violent and much disputed game of competitive croquet, all the while dodging a very determined assassin, juggling the care of her two year old son, Friday, and trying to get back her eradicated husband, Landen  (which is tough because technically he never existed, so even her mother thinks she's making him up). 

All in all very satisfying and clever writing, laugh-out-loud funny. It is all well thought out and must be meticulously annotated as he writes since he has created so much detail within the world he has created. There are seven books in this series. While reading them in order makes more sense this is the fourth book and it was complete in itself and didn't leave you feeling like there was anything missing (but was not repetitive, unlike Harry Potter, which irritated me with repeated information.) Perfect holiday reading.

" 'There are three types of dead,' said Spike, counting on his fingers. 'Dead, undead and semi-dead. Dead is what we call in the trade spiritually bereft, the life force is extinct. These are the lucky ones. Undead are the spiritually challenged that I seem to spend most of my time dealing with; vampires, zombies, bogies and what-have-yous.'
'And the semi-dead?'
'Spiritually ambiguous. Those that are going from one state to another or in a spiritual limbo. What you or I generally refer to as ghosts.' " 

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