If You Haven't Read Jasper Fforde, Remedy This Egregious Error Immediately
Now that it's summer, I've finally found time to enjoy a collection of incredible novels by some of my favorite authors. Allow me to introduce you to one of the best: Jasper Fforde. Let's take a look inside his amazing brain.
In all his books, Fforde creates a world where the utterly ridiculous is accepted without question. If you're a fan of outrageous plots, unlikely characters, witty dialogue and lame puns, this is the author for you. Fforde is most famous for the Thursday Next series, a zany mashup of fantasy, sci-fi and literary nerdom. The first book, The Eyre Affair, introduces Agent Thursday Next, who must enter the book world to investigate the kidnapping of Jane Eyre. You can also expect a number of surprises in later books, including a smattering of cameos by famous literary characters and an ingenious use of footnotes.
Fforde also has two clever spin-off murder mysteries featuring a variety of nursery rhyme characters. The first "Nursery Crime" novel is called The Big Over Easy, in which Detective Jack Spratt and Sergeant Mary Mary investigate the death of Humpty Dumpty. In The Fourth Bear, they tackle the mysterious disappearance of Henrietta "Goldilocks" Hatchett.
Interested yet? Here are even more reasons to love Jasper Fforde:
He has a small kingdom of websites related to each of his books. Styled after the horrendous websites of the early Internet (clip art and all), Fforde created micro-sites for Thursday Next's SpecOps agency, The Goliath Corporation, and the Cheese Enforcement Agency (yep). He also has a wealth of "Special Features" for each book, a link to his social media sites called "Twitface," a letter from his mother, and an emergency escape button in case your boss walks by while you're on the site. I've happily wasted a good many hours on Jasperfforde.com.
He painted a real car to match Thursday Next's infamous ride. Many of Fforde's protagonists seem to have a common obsession with ugly and/or unreliable cars. I mean, just look at the thing.
He's multitalented. Before becoming a full-time writer, Fforde worked in the film industry. How crazy is that? He even has an IMDb profile listing his work on movies like The Mask of Zorro. Fforde continues to exercise his visual creativity by practicing photography. You can check out his excellent work on Instagram.
Other reasons: He lives in Wales, drives a smart car and flies an antique biplane.
All this to say: I love Jasper Fforde's crazy stories, hilarious imagination, and everything else about his magnificent, creative soul. I just found out he's coming to Austin for a book signing in October, so I'll be at the front of the line with my stack of books and a giddy smile, ready to meet this person who's brought me so much joy. I hope you get the chance to go on one of his adventures, too!
Update: I had the pleasure of meeting the man himself! Here are a few of my favorite one-liners from the book signing:
I have absolutely no qualifications as an author. Other than being human, which I have been for a number of years.
My Achilles' tendon ruptured while playing hide and seek with a 6 yr old. I did not win. The reason is that children cheat.
Fantasy is the cutting edge of fiction. It is as imaginative a process to read as it is to write and fantasy attracts a very imaginative reader.
Crime [speaking of the genre] shows us our desire for justice. When crime stops being read, it'll be the end of us.
In my book, the word “the” has been used a good 7,000 times. What a ripoff.
If magic was in the real world, of course it would be taxed.
Take some ideas and turn them upside down, and others, exaggerate.
I like rubbish titles, like the "Woman Who Died a Lot."
Orphans in literature is horror for kids.
If you have any extra vowels, please put them in an envelope and send them to Wales.
I call it Procrastipedia. You look something up and 30 minutes later you're reading about the Norwegian leather industry.
Things you don't hear from an author: "I finished my book early.” Kind of like a kid saying: "No, I don't want a pony."
I like to write myself out of a dare.
Interesting women are more interesting than the most interesting men.