The Well of Lost Plots

It’s hard to imagine why the Thursday Next quartet is not universally known, because it rivals the breadth of creative imagination of the Harry Potter books, with the advantage that it’s amazingly funny! This is the 3rd book in the series, but unfortunately my first, so the story came to me in disjointed bits and I was unable to fully appreciate the many returning characters.

Thursday Next is a literary seluth and agent in training for JurisFiction, and Miss Havisham is her mentor and coach. Pregnant and anxious for a rest, she decides to go with her dodo Pickwick to visit the Well of Lost Plots, where all book characters, plots, and settings reside until they are chosen for novels. Living inside an unpublished crime thriller, Thursday explores the Great Library, where the Cheshire Cat is librarian, sees the workshop for backstories, meets generics [human canvases without paint] and orals [nursery rhyme characters], tours available settings [high-capped mountains, arched stone bridges, ruined castles], and watches as Miss Havisham joyrides in “Chitty Bang Bang.”

Holesmiths work there fixing holes in narratives, grammatacists try to prevent grammacites [gerunds] and mispeling vyruses from infecting novels, and pace-setters, moodmongers, and plot speculators work on new creations. As the Well considers installing the UltraWord operating system, which will expand the basic eight-plot architecture into thirty-two plots, Thursday tries to preserve the memory of Landen [her eradicated husband] fight against her enemies, and win her trial for a fiction infraction.

While Thursday’s role is not always clear, the book frees our imagination and keeps us involved in the literary world with its myriad possibilities. Full of satire, parody, puns, literary jokes and word play, this one provided hours of delight.

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