The Woman Who Didnít Die Enough

Book :The Woman Who Died A lot

Author: Jasper Fforde

Publisher: Hachette

Price: Rs 550

Pages: 380

Knowing when to stop is an invaluable skill for sportspersons and content creators to have; it can ensure that reputations are maintained and even burnished over time, instead of a once-beloved pop culture icon/artefact becoming an object of derision or worse, indifference (think The Matrix). Even someone with as much accumulated goodwill as Peter Jackson for his masterful Lord of the Rings trilogy couldn't escape some mocking for his seemingly silly plan to add a third Hobbit movie to the two already in production.

As a fan of Jasper Fforde's alternate history Thursday Next novels, one wishes that he had considered her story complete with the last book, One of our Thursdays is Missing. Fforde's funny, deeply imaginative series, set in a universe where literature is the dominant form of entertainment and the Shakespeare-authorship question is a live political issue, is a marvel of world-building and clever puns from the very first page in the first novel, The Eyre Affair. We are introduced to our intrepid heroine, who is sort of a Philip Marlowe by way of Bridget Jones. Through the course of that book, we discover how mutable time and space are in the complex environment of Bookworld, a sort of behind-the-scenes area for books where fictional characters literally, physically live; after all, the premise is that the machinations of a criminal mastermind by the name of Acheron Hades leads to Thursday altering the ending of Jane Eyre (The joke is ó spoiler alert ó that the ending Thursday's intervention brings about is the one familiar to us).

Alas, Fforde has abandoned Bookworld for the more ó dare I say it ó mundane delights of Swindon, the tiny industrial town in England. The plot, such as it is, sees literary detective Thursday (now a librarian) fend off assassination attempts from the Goliath Corporation, try to prevent God, no less, from smiting his ungrateful creations and rescue her son from possibly enacting Minority Report in a world where that movie likely doesn't exist (and so isn't available as a handy template for Thursday on how to deal with pre-determined crime). There is a lot going on, which means that this is not the ideal novel for Thursday Next or Fforde neophytes to begin with.

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