The Woman Who Died A Lot

I gave the book four stars on goodreads. Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series consists of seven books (so far), and by finishing this one I have now read the entire series. If you have ideas for what I should read next (I’m currently reading Saramago’s The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, a birthday present, but I’ll finish that one very soon) you’re welcome to add suggestions in the comment section below; do note that I read this series as a direct consequence of a reader recommending it.

The book is funny and absurd just like the others in the series, but I liked some of the others a bit better; it’s occasionally a bit too silly for my taste.

I have added some sample quotes from the book below.

“he tended to look upon me as the daughter he’d wished he had, and not the one he did have, who was a bit of a tramp.”

“‘You seem quite young,’ said Landen.
‘It’s due to my age,’ said Phoebe”

“On a worktop near by lay a machine that could assemble itself into a machine that would be able to dissemble itself, the practical applications of which were somewhat obscure.”

“‘I remember turning off the M4 and on to the M5, but I couldn’t swear to it. Next thing I know I’m sitting on a bench in Carlisle railway station five days later with £40.000 in cash, eight kilos of bootleg Camembert in the car and a wife waiting for me in Wrexham.’
‘You explained all this to SO-5?’
‘Many times. Quinn was the same, only she “came to” a day sooner than me, upside down in a Mercedes she had bought for cash two hours previously. There was an iguana on the back seat and the boot was full of rabbits.’
I exchanged looks with Landen. One of Aornis’s little memory tricks was to make you think you were someone you weren’t, then send you off to cause mayhem on the five-day non-recall bender.”

“‘This is Geraldine,’ said Duffy, ‘the assistant’s assistant to the assistant personal assistant of my own personal assistant’s assistant.’ […] ‘How many assistants do I have?’ I asked, turning back to Duffy.
‘Including me, three.’
‘Three? Given Geraldine’s job title? How is that possible?’
‘They have multiple jobs. Geraldine, apart from being the assistant’s assistant to the assistant personal assistant of my own personal assistant’s assistant, is also my own personal assistant’s assistant’s assistant.’
‘No,’ said Geraldine, ‘that’s Lucy. I’m not only your assistant’s assistant’s sub-assistant, but also the assistant to the assitant to your personal assistant’s assistant.’
‘Wait,’ I said, thinking hard, ‘that must make you your own assistant.’
‘Yes; I had to fire myself yesterday. Luckily I was also above the assistant who fired me, so I could reinstate myself.”

“‘Tell me,’ I said, ‘did the previous Chief Librarian really vanish without trace?’
‘Not entirely,’ said Duffy, passing me a photograph of a concrete monorail support somewhere on the Wantage branch line. ‘We were sent this.’
I stared at the photograph.
‘Did you tell the police?’
‘They said it was nothing and that people get sent pictures of concrete monorail supports all the time.’
‘Do they?’
‘No, not really.'”

“‘And house prices are tumbling,’ said another. ‘If I wanted to sell I’d have to accept half of what I paid for it.'”
‘And what did you pay for it?’ I asked. ‘Just out of interest.’
‘A hundred pounds. They’re dirt cheap because no one wants to live here.’
‘We get occasional backflashes too,’ said the fourth.
‘And what did you pay for it?’ I asked. ‘Just out of interest?’
‘A hundred pounds. They’re dirt cheap because no one wants to live here.’
‘We get occasional backflashes too,’ said the fourth, ‘but we only know that from external observers. Ooh, look,’ he added, pointing to a woman standing two hundred yards away who was waving a red flag, ‘Lori says we’ve just had one.'”

“‘Gavin, how did you turn out to be such a nasty piece of work?’
He shrugged.
‘I could blame my parents but that’s just whiny victim bullshit. Some people are just naturally unpleasant. I’ve known for a long time that I’m something of a shit. I tried for years to hide it, but it never worked, so in the end I decided to just go with it, and see where it lead me. What’s your excuse?'”


August 6, 2014 - Posted by | Books


  1. Do you have any preferences regarding the genres of suggested book titles?

    Comment by Maxwell B. | August 6, 2014 | Reply

    • Not really, no. When writing the post I was mostly thinking about fiction because I have no problems finding non-fiction to read, but even non-fiction suggestions are very welcome. If you’re suggesting I read a young-adult novel or some great Harry Potter fan-fiction I may not follow your advice, but you’re welcome to make such suggestions here if you like…

      Comment by US | August 6, 2014 | Reply

      • I’d recommend anything by Ishiguro, really. (Except ‘Nocturnes’, because I haven’t read that yet.) In my personal opinion, ‘The Remains of the Day’ is without doubt his best book, but in all of his books he has demonstrated such a deft and sublime touch with the English language that he is indisputably the writer who has most frequently made me think, “I really, really wish I could write like that.” The beauty of his words seems to blossom so effortlessly that it only speaks to his immense gift as a writer. In addition, he is really masterful at portraying realistic and moving characters. This is extremely high praise coming from someone like me (considering how I usually don’t give two hoots about character-driven narratives).

        Comment by Maxwell B. | August 6, 2014

      • I liked TRotD – I’ll consider having another go at Ishiguro. Thanks for the recommendation.

        Comment by US | August 7, 2014

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