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08 August 2012

'The Woman Who Died a Lot' by Jasper Fforde

So many puns, twists, jokes, allusions and witty moments I smile or laugh my way through

This is book 7 in the Thursday Next series.  The books take place in a very alternative universe, specifically an alternative England.  There are so many puns, twists, jokes, allusions and witty moments I smile or laugh my way through every book.  This one is no exception.

I was privileged to meet Jasper Fforde once upon a time while he was on tour promoting his latest book.  The poor man was in a room full of Germans, who happened to read in English.  A large, pedantic man (nerd) had the idea to ask why Jasper wrote stories based on English literature or (heaven forbid) English nursery rhymes?  He felt it would be easier to understand the books if he used something more universal; I can only assume he meant Goethe.  Anyway, Jasper managed to answer with grace to the general tune of 'you work with what you know'.  Honestly, I can't imagine any writer with (finally) a good idea (or so she hopes) who scraps it because she can't imagine how it will translate into German or Japanese.

Somewhere, somehow one must have a point of reference.  Some writers do a great deal of research and write beautifully about serial killers.  The Thursday Next novels tell of crimes against English literature.  The literary police force to which Thusday belongs protect us from fake endings and counterfeit Shakespeare, you have to read the books to understand.  And to understand you have to have some basic knowledge of English lit.  Having said that, it has been years since I read someone who could make me look as Miss Havisham with new eyes.

I close 'The Woman Who Dies a Lot' and look at my dusty bookcase with glee (usually I look at it with affection).  I also happen to appreciate the cheese in my fridge, but you have to read the series to understand.  These books cheer me up and refresh my English course books.  I hope Jasper keeps going.  Please, please Jasper, The Nursery Crime series could use another visit.

Jasper Fforde
 ISBN: 9780340963111


  1. Anonymous10:32

    hi miriam,
    i am still appreciating your blog. i especially enjoy reading what you say about books i will probably not read myself. you have however, encouraged me to expand my future reading list. sadly, i probably won't test myself with the Thursday Next series. my english lit knowledge is limited to what little is taught in high school in the usa. but keep blogging and i will learn more than i ever would otherwise.
    thank you,

  2. don't do that to yourself, read it anyway. if you studied 'Jane Eyre' you may have thought she was boring. this way you read something that makes you laugh and just maybe you will be curious enough to go read the original. step out of your comfort zone. if you really don't understand then google it! or talk about it with me!!! I love talking books...