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Review: The Well of Lost Plots

July 1, 2009

Publisher: Hodder

Paperback: 382 pages

Jasper Fforde presents a world that is a book lovers dream in The Well of Lost Plots. His frighteningly inventive and an in-joke world that he creates is rather wonderful. Fforde is adept in creating a world that will solicit a knowing smile. However, the thing about this book is that it’s too much, too much information, it’s oversaturated with it and consequently the plot suffers.

I enjoyed The Eyre Affair, it has everything that The Well of Lost Plots has but without the cloying nature. It doesn’t ram this world down your throat. In The Well of Lost Plots, the ideas are the plot and everything has to revolve around them. It becomes increasingly sycophantic and occasionally annoying. It just became a bit too smug. Although I did enjoy reading it but I kept wondering when the actual story would start.

The story seems largely tacked on as if Fforde realised that he had spent too much time on creating a world that he forget about thinking about the plot. What is the plot? Well, apart from being inconsequential it’s also dull. The book spends so much time on being all, well, rather smug about the whole thing that the plot can be summed up in a line. Something about a new book system will change something or something else.

That’s the thing, in The Eyre Affair all the extra, wink-wink, nudge-nudge material was background. It didn’t hamper our enjoyment of the story, but in The Well of Lost Plots it invades everything and becomes annoying. Anyway, I feel as if I’m repeating myself.

I feel that I’m being too hard on this book. I didn’t hate it, far from it. It’s entertaining because of the acknowledgment it gives to literature and the worlds of it. However, I think, for a person who doesn’t read that much it would become a bit too much of a puzzlement. The book relies to much on being all smug and intertextual which might put some people off. In The Eyre Affair, however, your enjoyment doesn’t stem from your knowledge (although it gives an extra oomph) of books.

Anyway, let me wrap up. While I did like it, I wasn’t enamoured by it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2009 5:57 pm

    I agree – this wasn’t nearly as good as The Eyre Affair. I haven’t read book #4 yet, but I hear its much better. One thing I did like about Well, is that it was almost a “making of” for Fforde’s the Big Over Easy, which is the first book in his Nursery Crimes series.

    • July 5, 2009 1:48 pm

      The fourth book is in the library so I might pick it up one day. I haven’t read the Big Over Easy but I have a signed copy of The Fourth Bear.

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