88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant main course, but have the starter first.,
This review is from: Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next 2) (Paperback)THe Eyre Affair was proclaimed by 'Time Out' as the birth of a cult. The other reviews of 'Lost In A Good Book' (LIAGB) that I've read have all come from people who had read that book first, and were part of the cult. I must confess that I was ignorant of 'The Erye Affair', had not been killing time waiting for a sequel, and indeed actually picked up the wrong book entirely by accident.
Having bought the wrong book, I found myself lost in a brilliant one. My tea went cold, my lava lamp melted, my boss sacked me for missing work, and my hamster paused on its wheel as it noticed a stillness come over my body as I surrendered myself to a new form of my own world. Indeed I appeared to have jumped into LIAGB in exactly the same way as the heroine, Thursday Next, is able to do.
If this makes not even remote sense then help is at hand. Read 'The Eyre Affair' first. Trying to enter the 'Nextian Universe' cold is a bit of a struggle unless your mind can take lots of weird stuff in quick order. To be honest I coped, but didn't really start to get the hang of Fforde's strange world until about 200 pages in, as most of the explanation that would make LIAGB a stand alone masterpiece is in its prequel.
This is no bad thing, as it forces you to buy both - and both are worth the investment. Having said this LIAGB is the better of the two, the characters have more complex back stories, and there is a freedom for the book to romp along that only comes with an established cast.
A cheap way of reviewing this book would be to say 'Dirk Gently with knobs on', but the treatment of this world is different, and Literature replaces Science, at least in terms of inspiraton. Even the technologies of this alternative view owe more to science fiction than to science fact.
The quality of the writing is never more apparent than when characters and set-pieces from other novels are allowed to do their own thing. Miss Havisham from 'Great Expectations' as a rally driver, anyone? Perhaps the best evidence of this is in the send up of Kafka's 'Trial', which carries the tragic absurdity of the original into a new, comic level.
In short this book is inventive and tricky. It is easy to call it 'Crime', but it's a detective story played for laughs: fast and loose with it's own genre and any other it dares to trample across. Not just a worthy sequel, but a book standing proud and tall on its prequel, this book is a must for anyone fancying something entirely different.
But read 'The Erye Affair' first, won't you?