Table of Contents
Also by Jasper Fforde
SHADES OF GREY
The Thursday Next Series
FIRST AMONG SEQUELS
THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS
LOST IN A GOOD BOOK
THE EYRE AFFAIR
(No longer available)
The Nursery Crimes Series
THE BIG OVER EASY
THE FOURTH BEAR
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First published in 2011 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Copyright © Jasper Fforde, 2011
All rights reserved
Illustrations by Bill Mudron and Dylan Meconis
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
One of our Thursdays is missing / Jasper Fforde.
eISBN : 978-1-101-47600-0
1. Next, Thursday (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Literary historians—
England—Fiction. I. Title.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
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For Tif Loehnis
To whom I owe my career
and by consequence
much else besides
The BookWorld Remade
The remaking was one of those moments when one felt a part of literature and not just carried along within it. In less than ten minutes, the entire fabric of the BookWorld was radically altered. The old system was swept away, and everything was changed forever. But the group of people to whom it was ultimately beneficial remained gloriously unaware: the readers. To most of them, books were merely books. If only it were that simple. . . .
Bradshaw’s BookWorld Companion
veryone can remember where they were when the BookWorld was remade. I was at home “resting between readings,” which is a polite euphemism for “almost remaindered.”
But I wasn’t doing nothing. No, I was using the time to acquaint myself with EZ-Read’s latest Laborsaving Narrative Devices, all designed to assist a first-person protagonist like me cope with the strains of a sixty-eight-setting five-book series at the speculative end of Fantasy.
I couldn’t afford any of these devices—not even Verb-Ease™ for troublesome irregularity—but that wasn’t the point. It was the company of EZ-Read’s regional salesman that I was interested in, a cheery Designated Love Interest named Whitby Jett.
“We have a new line in foreshadowing,” he said, passing me a small blue vial.
“Does the bottle have to be in the shape of Lola Vavoom?” I asked.
“It’s a marketing thing.”
I opened the stopper and sniffed at it gingerly.
“What do you think?” he asked.
Whitby was a good-looking man described as a youthful forty. I didn’t know it then, but he had a dark past, and despite our mutual attraction his earlier misdeeds could only end in one way: madness, recrimination and despair.
“I prefer my foreshadowing a little less pungent,” I said, carefully replacing the stopper. “I was getting all sorts of vibes about you and a dark past.”
“I wish,” replied Whitby sadly. His book had been deleted long ago, so he was one of the many thousands of characters who eked out a living in the BookWorld while they waited for a decent part to come along. But because of his minor DLI character status, he had never been given a backstory. Those without any sort of history often tried to promote it as something mysterious when it wasn’t, but not Whitby, who was refreshingly pragmatic. “Even having no backstory as my backstory would be something,” he had once told me in a private moment, “but the truth is this: My author couldn’t be bothered to give me one.”
I always appreciated honesty, even as personal as this. There weren’t many characters in the BookWorld who had been left unscathed by the often selfish demands of their creators. A clumsily written and unrealistic set of conflicting motivations can have a character in therapy for decades—perhaps forever.