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Fforde (One of Our Thursdays is Missing) continues to show that his forte is absurdist humor in his seventh crime thriller starring Thursday Next, a member of the Literary Detectives division of Special Operations in an alternate-universe Britain. This time, it's 2004, and Next is about to have a crowded week, even by her standards. As she puts it, it "began with a trip into Swindon in order to find myself a job and ended with a pillar of cleansing fire descending from the heavens, a rethink on the Wessex Library Service operating budget, and my son shooting Gavin Watkins dead." Meanwhile, Britain is attempting to manage a stupidity surplus: "[t]he nation's stupidity-usually discharged on a harmless drip feed of minor bungling-had now risen far beyond the capacity of the nation to dispose of it in a safe and sensible fashion." Toast has become the newest fad food, spawning a popular chain of topless toast bars known as Tooters. Such details help flesh out this endearingly-bizarre fantasy world limited only by Fforde's impressive imagination. Agent: Will Francis, Janklow & Nesbit U.K. (Oct. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Still recovering from injuries received in the line of duty, literary cop Thursday Next is anticipating a promotion in this seventh series entry (after One of Our Thursdays Is Missing) but instead finds herself being put out to pasture as-gulp-a librarian! However, this is Fforde's book-mad alternative England, where few are as respected as the heavily armed librarians in charge of the nation's tomes. But some woes are universal, and Thursday must face massive budget cuts while also contending with problems at home with her children (one of whom doesn't actually exist), a continuous stream of doppelgangers trying to replace her, and the reappearance of her archenemy, Jack Schitt. Together, the Next family struggles to prevent not only the destruction of their hometown via an actual religious smiting but also an apocalyptic event not due for another 37 years. Strap in and hang on tight, because the timeline is as linear as a wet noodle. VERDICT Another winner for fans and lovers of sf, time travel, puns, allusions, and all sorts of literary hijinks. [See Prepub Alert, 4/16/12.]-Devon Thomas, DevIndexing, Chelsea, MI (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Feeling her age after the attempt on her life in One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (2011), Thursday Next has left the BookWorld for the RealWorld, where she accepts a job as head of the Wessex All-You-Can-Eat at Fatso's Drinks Not Included Library Service. Life as a librarian is far from dull, however: her old nemesis, Jack Schitt, is stealing pages from books written by St. Zvlkx, the patron saint of Swindon; her son, Friday, a laid-off ChronoGuard worker, is destined to murder someone, which could prevent him from saving the world in the future; and, in the present, downtown Swindon is scheduled for a smiting by a recently revealed, all-powerful deity (yes, it's a He) unless Thursday's daughter Tuesday can finish the Anti-Smite Shield in time. Matters are further complicated by a mindworm, a half-dozen Synthetic Thursdays, and the possible existence of Dark Book Matter. As always, Fforde makes this wacky world perfectly plausible, elucidating Ffordian physics with just the right ratio of pseudoscientific jargon to punch lines. It's a dazzling, heady brew of high concept and low humor, absurd antics with a tea-and-toast sensibility that will appeal to fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse alike. Fforde is ffantastic!--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist