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by Jasper Fforde
Hodder & Stoughton Paperbacks, January 2012
416 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340963093

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the BookWorld everything happens for a reason. So when the character Thursday Next goes into the real world to hunt for her missing original, she finds the chaos and lack of pre-ordained plan something of a shock. Back home she must battle gangsters who trade in black-market cheese, synthetic baddies created by mega-corporation Goliath, and the dreaded Men in Plaid secret police to find the real Thursday. And the other characters in her book are ganging up on her - it looks as if her understudy might stage a coup. Luckily Thursday has at least two allies clockwork butler Sprockett and her misunderstood suitor, Whitby Jett.

The geography of BookWorld provides lots of humour the island of Vanity Publishing is shunned by the other inhabitants and Fanfiction is isolated even further - "beyond is School Essays and beyond that Excuses For Not Doing School Essays." Meanwhile characters from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment can't work out which of them is which.

It's sometimes easy to feel you're missing out on literary and publishing in-jokes. These occasionally come dangerously close to feeling too clever for either their own good or for reader comfort. Perhaps that could be overcome by being up-to-date with the Thursday series this is the sixth title in the franchise.

It was hard to care about the fate of the written Thursday, a character who is by her very nature two-dimensional. Similarly, empathizing with the real Thursday, who is mainly spoken of at second-hand, was a challenge. Fans of the series, who presumably know more of the backstory, could well find this less of a problem.

The real action in ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING only took off on page 45. If you're working to the maxim of grabbing your readers' attention within the first 50 pages, this seems to be cutting it a bit fine. But those who are revelling in the strange customs and alternative physics of BookWorld will mind this delay less. Further in, some of the plot twists felt contrived to make a comedy point rather than to tell a good story. On the whole, this is possibly one for the dedicated fan of droll alternative realities more than for those requiring an enthralling read.

Lisa Kahlua is a writer based in Bristol. She enjoys reading a wide range of fiction, as long as it's not too gruesome.

Reviewed by Lisa Kahlua, May 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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