Monday, February 22, 2010
When soon-to-be single parent Thursday Next emerges from her comfortable life inside an unpublished book, she steps into a new age of fictional narrative. The entire book world is abuzz with anticipation of an improved Text Operating System that moves from the 8-plot to the new 32-plot story system. But danger lurks when Jurisfiction agents keep turning up dead. When Thursday steps in, she encounters Dickens' Miss Havisham, passes through Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, and deals with a mispeling vyrus, holesmiths, and unionized nursery rhymes.
I've been away on vacation for a week, driving back and forth from NJ to FL and got a lot of reading and audiobook listening done! We had a great time in the sun, and audiobooks make the driving a pleasure along I-95!
The Well of Lost Plots is the 3rd installment in the Thursday Next series, and I enjoyed listening to it. Elizabeth Sastre was once again the narrator and she has an endearing British accent for the 30-something Thursday. A matter of fact tone, which stands out amidst all the mayhem and craziness that surrounds her in Jurisfiction, where she is biding her time, in hiding from the Goliath Corporation and evil genius, Aornis Hades, who is screwing around with her memories by trying to make Thursday forget her eradicated husband, Landen.
Thursday, now pregnant with Landen's baby has become part of the Character Exchange Program in the unpublished book, Caversham Heights, a book that is basically too crummy to get published. She's taking over the character of Mary for a year. Her role in Caversham Heights is a sideline, for the real plotline of the book is her apprenticeship at Jurisfiction under the tutelage of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Miss H is one of my very favorites. She steals every scene and Ms. Sastre does her voice perfectly. Jurisfiction is a kind of policing agency within the imaginary fictional world of what goes on behind how books are really written and developed. All the characters from all the books in the world, past and present, are real and alive in Jurisfiction. One of the funniest scenes in the book - if not the funniest - is when Miss Havisham must run an anger management session for the characters of Wuthering Heights. It was a real hoot. All the characters hate Heathcliff (except Cathy, of course) and Heathcliff comes across as a movie star with sunglasses and his agent in tow. Much more than this, I'm leaving a lot out, but it was great!
Another aspect of the story I found interesting as well as prophet-like was the scenario of the new operating system known as UltraWord. We learn the history of the text operating system used by Jurisfiction, beginning with OralTrad, then onto the award winning SCROLL, that was upgraded numerous times, finally leading to BOOKV1, which was used successfully with it's many upgrades for over 800 years. Now UltraWord is being unveiled as the brand new text operating system of the future to be voted on. But, it is not as great as it seems. It turns out that only three people can read a book on UltraWord (reminiscent of today's DRM ebook dilemma), thus putting an end to lending libraries and used bookstores. Plus UltraWord's descriptions really stink, it basically makes everything sound cheap and generic. Good-bye to great writing, hello slap dash, computer written, get-it-out-as-fast-as-you-can prose. It turns out that Jurisfiction agents are being killed off because they are aware of these issues and want it stopped. Thursday ingeniously foils the dastardly "powers that be" who are trying to get UltraWord passed quickly in a vote (not unlike the health bill debacle going on these days) at the BookWorld Awards (another memorably funny part of the book).
In addition to the hilarious Wuthering Heights characters, another side plotline I loved was about ibb and obb, two generics that live with Thursday in Cavisham Heights. We see how they morph into Lola and Randolph and become real characters! Plus, there is the ongoing problem of what is going to happen next (no pun intended) with Thursday. Will she have her baby in the real world, will she ever see her husband Landen again? What's in store for Thursday in Jurisficion - will she live there forever?
Stay tuned and do yourself a big favor and read this series. It's a must for anyone who is well-read and has a sense of humor for the absurd. These books weave in and out of the classics and will make you giggle over and over-this book was no exception! I didn't like it as much as the last, since Thursday, for the most part, is on hold and not in the real world - but what a world it is!