Publication Date (Kindle US): October 2, 2012 – (Kindle UK): July 12, 2012
In the 7th Thursday Next novel, Thursday is semi-retired after the disbanding of SO-27 (and the attempt on her life). When SO-27 is brought back, she expects to be named to the head position but instead finds herself asked to be Chief Librarian at the Wessex All You Can Eat at Fatso’s Drink not Included Library Service. Settling into her role, she finds that this simple library job isn’t as safe and mundane as it seems. Especially as the Goliath Corporation seems to still be determined to replace her with a Synthetic Thursday and they seem to be getting smarter about it. Will daughter, Tuesday, build an anti-smite shield that works before the deities big, scheduled, smiting of Swindon. Will Thursday be able to help son, Friday, find out why he and all of the other Chronoguard’s who got “Letters of Destiny” after the Chronoguard disbanded die so young? Will the fictional character that guards the house find out what happens in the “Dark Reading Matter” (where all book characters go when their books are destroyed)? This and more in The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Novel.
I really love Jasper Fforde’s writing style. His novels are witty and very knowledable in a literary sense. The creativity required for a “book world detective” who can cross to the literary world and go from novel to novel to non-fiction work solving crime is just mind-bogglingly awesome. In this novel, Thursday is getting older and she’s been hurt a lot and Fforde, to his credit, doesn’t hit the reset button when she’s hurt for the next book. Thursday is certainly having a much harder time with daily life. While this seventh in the series focused more on Thursday’s home life, it certainly fit within the scope of the series. I would call this novel the best of the series though, I’m sure, I would call any more recent novel by Fforde the best that he’s written.
The smart satire in this novel is amazing. God returns to the earth to smite cities at random, there is a stupidity surplus built by the government using too much common sense that must be spent, toast is the fad food of the age and Yo-Toast chains pop up everywhere. The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Novel is off in many different directions as well plot-wise. We see lots of characters from the earlier novels. Aornis Hades is back. She’s infected Thursday with a mindworm that makes her think that she has a daughter named Jenny. The novel is narrated by Thursday and we see her reaction to needing to check on Jenny and then mid-way the mindworm transfers to Thursday’s husband, Landon, and the narrative flips seamlessly to project that. Jack Schitt of the Goliath Corpration returns as well. Landon’s would be bride from an earlier novel, Daisy, also returns as Mother Daisy of the Divine Sisters of the Lobsterhood.
Jasper Fforde is brilliant in that he takes pieces of our real world and infuses them into this beautifully creditable alternative universe in which time travel had been possible but was disproved leaving lots of people out of work and with letters telling them of a new timeline for which they know the start, the middle and the end and there are stupidity surpluses that need to be burned off. When I read a Fforde novel, I am entertained, want more when it’s done and actually feel a little smarter for the experience. The Woman Who Died A Lot: A Thursday Next Novel is out for purchase on October 2 2012 which allows plenty of time to catch up on the series. If you’re lucky enough to be in the UK or have the ability to buy UK books, you can pick it up today.