When I first started reading Jasper Fforde, it was because I saw a book that looked moderately interesting on the shelf at Literary Utopia. I had no idea that in less than a year I would own all of his books and be preordering those that weren’t released yet.
There is something about Fforde that I can’t quite describe. He writes in a way that I can’t ever remember reading before. I just don’t always have the words to adequately express his style.
So, I started The Fourth Bear with a little trepidation. Still, I wanted to be able to say in all honesty that I had read all of Fforde’s works.
I loved it.
It was like nothing I’ve ever read. True to his style, Fforde manages to create a world that makes absolutely no sense, yet if you will just “embrace the weirdness” (quoting Jana again), you find that it makes perfect sense within the constraints of the novel. He plays with metafiction, breaking the fourth wall, and the insane paradox that the Thursday Next novels are fiction inside the Nursery Crime Division world; when we all know that the NCD novels are fiction inside the TN novels. It is wonderful!
Never predictable, Fforde somehow brings to life the nursery rhyme characters of our childhood with remarkable back stories and unusual twists that explain the nursery rhymes in a way you’d never expect.
While it is not truly necessary to read The Big Over Easy before reading The Fourth Bear, I highly recommend it. There is some necessary background that helps you to understand the characters a little better. It would be well worth it as it also assists in gently breaking you into the mind of Fforde.
I can’t help it. I wholeheartedly give this book 5 out of 5 stars!