Remember how I waxed lyrical over Gregory Maguire’s rewriting of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Cinderella’ and other well known fairy tales? I’ve found another author who does the same for nursery rhymes. And fairy tales. And any other literary reference he can cram into a sentence.
I ordered Jasper Fforde’s newest book, ‘The Big Over Easy’ because of its blurb – who wouldn’t want to read about the murder of Humpty Dumpty, I thought? Especially if the DI is named Jack Spratt, with a DS named Mary Mary? Sounds like fun. Little did Richard know that he would be subjected to a contant barrage of impromtu readings and ‘I can’t believe he did it AGAIN‘s on the plane to Canada this summer.
Fforde has created a world in which popular culture is literary – ever want to go see a full-audience-participation production of Richard III, a la Rocky Horror Picture Show? (‘When is the winter of our discontent?’ bellows the audience. ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’ answers the actor…) See more of what it’s like in ‘The Eyre Affair’. Ever wonder how many neuroses a large egg might have living in today’s society? Find out in ‘The Big Over Easy’. And I’m sure there will be many more interesting questions and answers when I’ve read the whole of Fforde’s output to date. Because I’m that hooked.
It’s not just that his sense of humour saturates his books – his website, and advertisements in the back of his novels are amazingly funny as well. Ever wonder how toast got to be such a popular breakfast food? Maybe it’s because of the work of the sterling people at the ‘Toast Marketing Board’. And wouldn’t it be neat to be able to own a pet that has been extinct for hundreds, or even millions of years? Leave it to Pete and Dave at ‘Pete and Dave’s Dodo Emporium’ – all dodos guaranteed non-feral!
All I can say is that I’ve always wanted to meet Mr. Rochester, and Thursday Next, the heroine of ‘The Eyre Affair’ gets to to this, and change the course of one of the best-loved books of all time. What avid reader wouldn’t want to be able to do that? Please, meet Jasper Fforde’s creations in person – they are well worth your time.