Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Big Over Easy (by Jasper Fforde)

I read all the Thursday Next books, so I figured I was committed and might as well read the Nursery Crime books too! At the moment I've had some wine, so I'll come back when I've had fewer wine and tell you all about it.


Well I'm not still drunk, but I sort of forgot about this book. It's typical Fforde silliness, if you like that sort of thing. Humpty Dumpty has been murdered, and Detective Jack Spratt and his new assistant, Mary Mary, are on the hunt for the killer. You will either find it irritatingly twee or charmingly clever, or, if you're like me, an uncomfortable mixture of both.

After reading Fforde's site, I realize that it's very closely tied to The Well of Lost Plots. In that book, Thursday Next ends up hiding out in an unpublished novel. Fforde used one of his own unpublished novels and then revised it and published it as The Big Over Easy. Which is a little confusing, but with Fforde, you either go with it or you don't, I guess.


Blogger jen fu said...

Are you still drunk?

1:35 PM  
Blogger K said...

Yes, enquiring minds want to know.

I finally read "The Eyre Affair"! And liked it, but haven't had time to pick up any of the sequels yet (moved house).

4:11 AM  
Blogger K said...

Commenting on the updated post:

I have come across a couple of short stories which use the same conceit - one of which, The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds by Neil Gaiman, has Humpty Dumpty being murdered and the detective is Jack Horner. I wonder if Fforde's read it!

It's a pretty silly story, I have to admit, and not one of Gaiman's better ones; I don't think he's republished it in his short story collections. I'm kind of intrigued that anyone could spin this sort of thing out to novel-length.

Is Fforde's narrator male this time? That was the one problem I had with Thursday; I didn't feel she was always entirely convincing as a woman. (My benchmark for this is Nick Hornby, who does very good female first-person narrators.)

3:03 AM  
Anonymous Shae said...

I love the Thursday Next novels but I thought "The Big Over Easy" was practically unreadable. I'm not sure if it's because I really don't like mystery novels in the first place (though the Next novels are basically mysteries too) or if it's just not that good. The whole Nursery Rhyme world conceit just didn't work the same way the Bookworld conceit worked in the Next novels. It felt so self-conscious and "aren't I clever?"

6:31 AM  
Blogger K said...

And weeks later, I randomly realised that the Gaiman story is on his website. Here it is.

6:30 AM  

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