Thursday Next is one of my most favorite literary characters, making Jasper Fforde a favored author. Very favored. There was a great deal of gleeful hopping up and down when I bought my copy. One of Our Thursdays is Missing is the sixth book in the Thursday Next series and I was a bit apprehensive when starting - it's not narrated by Thursday.
Not the real Thursday, anyway, but Thursday5 who has taken over narration of the revamped TN series since the erasure of Thursday1-4 (and The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco) at the end of First Amongst Sequels. All the other books in the series are narrated in the first person by Thursday, only switching narrators briefly when necessary (like when Thursday was in a coma in Something Rotten and Landen received a visit from Commander Bradshaw, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, and Emperor Zhark - Landen narrated that chapter) so an entire book from a slightly different viewpoint.... I was a bit guarded for the first chapter but then I got lost in the plot and rich stock of book jokes and puns. I love it. Written Thursday is just as wonderful a narrator as real Thursday - it gives a slightly different perspective on the BookWorld and what a BookWorld it is. The BookWorld is a major part of what makes the TN series so terribly much fun and it undergoes a major reorganization at the beginning of OoOTiM - from an amorphous Nothing to a Fiction Island in a sphere. The World consists of text description, therefore it can be rewritten and rearranged.
The rearrangement suits the plot of OoOTiM far better because Thursday5 (who really isn't called that anymore, she's simply called Thursday so I probably better get used to it) now helps out with the Jurisfiction version of the NTSB when she's not busy with her series. Thursday is ordered to whip up a report (read: overlook the real cause) about an odd chunk of book that has crash landed in the middle of the island. On her way to the accident site, she is accosted by an odd red-haired book character who intimates that all is not right in the BookWorld: the real Thursday Next has gone missing! In the company of a clockwork robot named Sprockett and a malfunctioning Mrs. Malaprop, Thursday begins her own covert investigation into the real cause of the accident and the real Thursday's disappearance. Written Thursday must confront the dangers of the Outland (the Real World) and Vanity publishing to save real Thursday and Fiction Island.
Fforde introduces new bits and bobs to the BookWorld with characters old and new. Written Thursday visits the Lady of Shallott, the possessor of a very special mirror. The Thursday character understudy has a prediliction for goblins, something of which the written Pickwick has an outspoken dislike. The Council of Genres is worried that the rising level of e-books will drain the Text Sea. Fforde even thinks up a "feedback loop" where readers inprint their own thoughts and impressions back onto the fictional character, not without issue: Harry Potter was seriously pissed off that he'd have to spend the rest of his life looking like Daniel Radcliffe. (p 69)
I can't recommend the Thursday Next series enough. They are silly, absurd, thrilling, hilarious, literary, and unputdownable. If you've never read any Thursday books, start with The Eyre Affair; if you've kept up with Thursday, what are you waiting for?? Read this book! (I'm waiting very impatiently for the OoOTiM release on audiobook so Thursday can keep me company in the car, just like the previous volumes).