Excerpt from The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Well of Lost Plots

A Thursday Next Novel

by Jasper Fforde

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde X
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2004, 400 pages
    Jul 2004, 375 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"You're Generics, right?"

"Indeed," they said in unison.

"What are you doing here?"

"You remember the craze for minimalism?" asked the one on the right.

"Yes?" I replied, moving closer to stare at their blank faces curiously. There was a lot about the Well that I was going to have to get used to. They were harmless enough—but decidedly creepy. Pickwick was still hiding behind the sofa.

"It was caused by the 1982 character shortage," said the one on the left. "Vikram Seth is planning a large book in the next few years and I don't think the Well wants to be caught out again—we're being manufactured and then sent to stay in unpublished novels until we are called into service."

"Sort of stockpiled, you mean?"

"I'd prefer the word billeted," replied the one on the left, the slight indignation indicating that it wouldn't be without a personality forever.

"How long have you been here?"

"Two months," replied the one on the right. "We are awaiting placement at St. Tabularasa's Generic College for basic character training. I live in the spare bedroom in the tail."

"So do I," added the one on the left. "Likewise."

I paused for a moment. "O-kay. Since we all have to live together, I had better give you names. You," I said, pointing a finger at the one on the right, "are henceforth called ibb. You"—I pointed to the other— "are called obb."

I pointed at them again in case they had missed it as neither made any sign of comprehending what I'd said—or even hearing it.

"You are ibb, and you are obb."

I paused. Something didn't sound right about their names but I couldn't place it.

"ibb," I said to myself, then: "obb. ibb. ibb-obb. Does that sound strange to you?"

"No capitals," said obb. "We don't get capitalized until we start school—we didn't expect a name so soon, either. Can we keep it?"

"It's a gift from me," I told them.

"I am ibb," said ibb, as if to make the point.

"And I am obb," said obb.

"And I'm Thursday," I told them, offering my hand. They shook it in turn slowly and without emotion. I could see that this pair weren't going to be a huge bundle of fun.

"And that's Pickwick."

They looked at Pickwick, who plocked quietly, came out from behind the sofa, settled herself on her egg and pretended to go to sleep.

"Well," I announced, clapping my hands together, "does anyone know how to cook? I'm not very good at it and if you don't want to eat beans on toast for the next year, you had better start to learn. I'm standing in for Mary, and if you don't get in my way, I won't get in yours. I go to bed late and wake up early. I have a husband who doesn't exist and I'm going to have a baby later this year so I might get a little cranky—and overweight. Any questions?"

"Yes," said the one on the left. "Which one of us is obb, did you say?"

I unpacked my few things in the small room behind the flight deck. I had sketched a picture of Landen from memory and I placed it on the bedside table, staring at it for a moment. I missed him dreadfully and wondered, for the umpteenth time, whether perhaps I shouldn't be here hiding, but out there, in my own world, trying to get him back. Trouble was, I'd tried that and made a complete pig's ear of it—if it hadn't have been for Miss Havisham's timely rescue, I would still be locked up in a Goliath vault somewhere. With our child growing within me I had decided that flight was not a coward's option but a sensible one—I would stay here until the baby was born. I could then plan my return, and following that, Landen's.

I went downstairs and explained to obb the rudiments of cooking, which were as alien to it as having a name. Fortunately I found an old copy of Mrs. Beeton's Complete Housekeeper, which I told obb to study, half-jokingly, as research. Three hours later it had roasted a perfect leg of lamb with all the trimmings. I had discovered one thing about Generics already: dull and uninteresting they may be—but they learn fast.

Copyright Jasper Fforde 2003. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Ensemble
    The Ensemble
    by Aja Gabel
    In May 1994, the members of the Van Ness String Quartet are completing their final graduate recital ...
  • Book Jacket: The Electric Woman
    The Electric Woman
    by Tessa Fontaine
    In 2010, author Tessa Fontaine's mother had a near-fatal hemorrhagic stroke, leaving her with a...
  • Book Jacket: The Female Persuasion
    The Female Persuasion
    by Meg Wolitzer
    A college freshman struggling for identity. A 1960s feminist icon attempting to maintain her ...
  • Book Jacket: A Lucky Man
    A Lucky Man
    by Jamel Brinkley
    If his debut collection of short stories, A Lucky Man is any indicator, Jamel Brinkley is poised on ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd

A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Comedown

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

A blistering dark comedy that explores delineating lines of race, class, religion, and time.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.