Thursday, May 7, 2015
Review of The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde (Penguin, 2012)
The seventh instalment of the Thursday Next series, The Woman Who Died A Lot has a somewhat different setting to the other stories, being set entirely in and around Swindon with no excursions into the BookWorld, and is very much a family affair involving the whole of the Next clan. Nonetheless, like the other books in the series Fforde has produced a clever, inventive tale with a tangle of intersecting plotlines that all eventually resolve themselves after a number of scrapes. There’s certainly a lot going on and it takes a bit of concentration to follow the various threads and logic, but Fforde does a good job of keeping everything on track. Moreover, the characterisation is nicely done, especially Thursday’s children, Tuesday and Friday, and old enemies such as Jack Schitt and Aornis Hades also make appearances. There is nice humour throughout, though it was of the smirking rather than laughing out loud variety, and a lot of the literary in-jokes and satire on modern living of the earlier books was largely absent. Where the tale comes a little unstuck, however, is the ending, which felt a little flat and underwhelming given the extended lead-in. It made sense, and set up the next instalment, but didn’t pack the wallop I was expecting. Overall, a good, fun, cerebral read, but hopefully the next instalment will re-enter the BookWorld once more.