Honor's Reviews > The Well of Lost Plots

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
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's review
Jul 19, 08

Recommended for: Writers and other book nerds.
Read in July, 2008

I seem somewhat doomed to find series via a book somewhere in the middle. I'm sure it happens to everyone, but it -feels- like it happens to me a bit more often.

So... Except for people who find it accidentally, who'd read a review of this book? Likely someone who's interested in perhaps reading it... Who, I'd guess, would be someone who's already read the first two. So, this review's probably useless. None the less....

This book (as I'm sure is true for the rest of the series) is meant as something of a reader's book... Not casual, "I read two or three novels a year" readers... But Readers. If I could italicize or use bold face here, I would. By extension, since I imagine so many decent writers are Readers, it's also meant to be a Writer's book.

It's filled with inside jokes about plot development, scene construction, dialog conventions, exposition, character development, and so on.

Since it also takes place in "the book world" - the alternate dimension that fictional characters inhabit both while working and while "off duty" - there is also -loads- of business, name dropping, and inside jokery about other books.

The problem with this is that... Well... Have you ever been playing around with a group of friends who all saw the same film or read the same book as yourself, and all felt somewhat similar about it, and you go off on this big long tear about the possible interaction of the characters and what might have been and how -hilarious- that might have been? And, since you were in that group, and high on laughter, in that special way that laughter has of making everything else seem a little more funny... By the end of it, you're all in tears, laughing at just about -anything- but... If you showed it to a stranger, or could even view it yourself a month later without the benefit of having been there, it might not be nearly so compelling.

So... I felt that a lot of the references to other books were a bit... Overdone. The quick references in passing, I enjoyed very much. a few lines with Rudyard Kipling's Painted Jaguar in the elevator... Quite nice. Bits of conversation between Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedick were simply brilliant in the authenticity they carried over. But, for me, the anger management session with all the characters from Wuthering Heights, working through their seething hatred of Heathcliffe just seemed to drag on, and on, and on...

All told, I'm happy I read it, and I will read the others when the opportunity arises... I just wish the author would keep the inside jokes quick and to the point.
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