British writer Jasper Fforde has been creating his unique brand of idiosyncratic fantasy fiction for some time now. With his imaginative perspective on the genre he’s been making an impact within the field with his highly influential novels. Gaining a huge degree of both commercial and critical success in his time, he’s managed to create a name for himself and will continue to do so in the many years to come.
Early and Personal Life
Born on the 11th of January, 1961, the British novelist Jasper Fforde was brought up in London where he spent much of his childhood formulating many of his ideas. The son of one John Standish Fforde, who was well known for his position as the 24th chief cashier situated in the Bank of England, he managed to have his signature placed upon the sterling notes. From this background Jasper Fforde began as a writer, with his lifelong passion for literature that was nurtured from a young age.
Attending Dartington Hall School he had a highly progressive education, which allowed his talent to flourish from an early age. Developing his skills as a writer from the start, he built up and honed his craft, managing to create a highly unique and highly distinctive voice. Working as a film puller within the industry later on, he managed to get involved in some big productions, such as the James Bond film Goldeneye. Soon though he began turning back to his career as a writer, as he focused on his craft and, before long, getting his first book published. This is something he still does to this day as he continues to write, building both him and his reputation to critical acclaim for an international audience.
Writing and publishing his first book, The Eyre Affair, in 2001, the writer Jasper Fforde made his debut on the literary scene with a good impact. This was to start a trend in his work for the fantastical and funny that has been integrated into his work throughout much of his career. It was also to start his series featuring the eponymous detective of ‘Thursday Next’ who would deal with crimes set within the realm of literature.
Whilst he suffered a number of rejections early on with his first novel, largely due to its very different and highly inventive style, Jasper Fforde soon started receiving the recognition he deserved as a writer. Winning the Wodehouse Prize in 2004 for comic fiction, he gained critical attention for his novel ‘The Well of Lost Plots’. Infusing elements of wordplay into his stories has ensured he’s a writer of great comic potential with plenty of humor and wit. This is something that’s run throughout his career, affording his work an irreverent and intelligent style that both readers and critics have warmed to. Incorporating parody and meta-fiction into his books, he’s managed to provide a sense of depth unlike no other that almost gives his novels a life of their very own. Not only that, but he is also well regarded for his short-stories as well, which have been included in prestigious publications such as ‘The Guardian’. Continuing to write, there is plenty more on the horizon for Jasper Fforde as a writer, as he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
The Big Over Easy
Branching off from the Thursday Next series, whilst being set within the same universe, this novel was originally published in 2005 on the 1st of January through the Penguin publishing house. Employing his trademarked wit and irreverence once again, he this time sets up a new series set within the ‘Nursery Crime’ division, this one being the first entry. With more to come, this helped establish a new tone with new characters, whilst also keeping ties to the original series and expanding on the premises throughout.
Featuring Inspector Jack Spratt who has been stationed at the the Nursery Crimes division, it’s his job to track down any crimes of a literary nature happening in the world of fiction, like Thursday Nest before him. The difference here is that he focuses on classic children’s literature and nursery stories, solving the crimes within their pages and getting to the bottom of the case. Delving, quite literally, into the pages of each book, he works alongside his partner Mary Mary in this fantastical take on the detective genre novel. With his first case here he has to deal with the mysterious death of Humpty Dumpty, an egg who has fallen off a wall, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. Did he simply fall on his own, or was he pushed by someone with an agenda to do him harm and, if so, what were they to gain from his big fall? Will Spratt be able to solve the case? Who would push an egg off a wall? What will become of them as they find the big over easy?
The Last Dragonslayer
Commencing the beginning of his ‘Chronicles of Kazam’ series on the 1st of January, 2010, this novel saw the introduction of a new fantastical world with both humor and fun. With his now well-regarded wit and intelligence, Jasper Fforde tackles a new set of books and a new set of themes, with its own characters and protagonists. Providing a new style and tone, it’s not without the comic irreverence that Fforde’s audience have come to appreciate over the years, offering a new ambiance and atmosphere to pace the books.
Starting with the story of Jennifer Strange, a fifteen year old girl who runs an employment agency dedicated to magicians, it tells of how she manages the ‘Kazam’ agency. The problem is, magic is disappearing leaving her without much work and not many clients, as she finds herself beginning to struggle for business. That’s when visions of the last dragon being slayed start happening to her, which would signal massive changes within the world of magic, as the birth of ‘Big Magic’ will come about. Will she be able to find more work, or will it all disappear once and for all? Can she find out what changes might occur should there be ‘Big Magic’? Who exactly is the last dragonslayer?
Books in order of publication by series:
Thursday Next Books
|The Eyre Affair||(2001)|
|Lost in a Good Book||(2002)|
|The Well of Lost Plots||(2002)|
|First Among Sequels||(2007)|
|One of Our Thursdays is Missing||(2011)|
|The Woman Who Died A Lot||(2012)|
Early Riser Books
Nursery Crime Books
|The Big Over Easy||(2005)|
|The Fourth Bear||(2006)|
Shades Of Grey Book
|Shades of Grey||(2009)|
Chronicles Of Kazam Books
|The Last Dragonslayer||(2010)|
|The Song of the Quarkbeast||(2011)|
|The Eye of Zoltar||(2014)|