Jasper Fforde

English novelist

Jasper Fforde (born 11 January 1961) is an English-born Welsh novelist and aviator. He is the author of the popular Thursday Next series, as well as the Nursery Crime books.

Jasper Fforde in 2012

Quotes edit

  • "Edward, Edward," he said with a patronising smile, "there are no unanswered questions of any relevance. Every question that we need to ask has been answered fully. If you can't find the correct answer then you are obviously asking the wrong question."
    • Shades of Grey (2010), p206

The Eyre Affair (2001) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback edition published by Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-200180-5, first printing
All italics as in the book
  • Like any other big government department, it looks good on paper but is an utter shambles. Petty infighting and political agendas, arrogance and sheer bloody-mindedness almost guarantees that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.
    • Chapter 3, “Back at My Desk” (p. 18)
  • “It was a coincidence.”
    “I don’t believe in coincidences.”
    “Neither do I. That’s a coincidence, isn’t it?”
    • Chapter 8, “Airship to Swindon” (p. 82)
  • Don’t ever call me mad, Mycroft. I’m not mad. I’m just...well, differently moraled, that’s all.
    • Chapter 15, “Hello & Goodbye, Mr. Quaverley” (p. 157)
  • “James Crometty!” demanded Bowden. “Did you kill him?”
    “I kill a lot of people,” whispered Felix7. “I don’t remember names.”
    “You shot him six times in the face.”
    The dying killer smiled.
    “That I remember.”
    “Six times! Why?”
    Felix7 frowned and started to shiver.
    “Six was all I had,” he answered simply.
    • Chapter 16, “Sturmey Archer & Felix7” (p. 166)
  • “Haven’t I seen your face somewhere else?”
    “No, it’s always been right here on the front of my head.”
    • Chapter 26, “The Earthcrossers” (p. 248)
  • “It’s easy. A lobotomized monkey could do it.”
    “And where are we going to find a lobotomized monkey at this time of night?”
    • Chapter 27, “Hades Finds Another Manuscript” (p. 275)
  • The industrial age had only just begun; the planet had reached its Best Before date.
    • Chapter 32, “Thornfield Hall” (p. 318)
  • You’ve got a face longer than a Dickens novel.
    • Chapter 36, “Married” (p. 371)

Lost in a Good Book (2002) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback edition published by Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-200403-0, first printing
All italics as in the book
  • I could almost see common sense and denial fighting away at each other within her. In the end, denial won, as it so often does.
    • Chapter 3, “Cardenio Unbound” (p. 35)
  • My father told me that for the most part coincidences could be safely ignored: they were merely that chance discovery of one pertinent fact from a million or so possible daily interconnections. “Stop a stranger in the street,” he would say, “and delve into each other’s past. Pretty soon an astounding-too-amazing-to-be-chance coincidence will appear.”
    • Chapter 4, “Five Coincidences, Seven Irma Cohens and One Confused Neanderthal” (pp. 48-49)
  • “He said you were very dangerous.”
    “No more dangerous than anyone else who dares to speak the truth.”
    • Chapter 5, “Vanishing Hitchhikers” (p. 60)
  • “We’re fine, Joff. You?”
    “Not that good, Thurs. The Church of the Global Standard Deity has undergone a split.”
    “No!” I said with his much surprise and concern in my voice as I could muster.
    “I’m afraid so. The new Global Standard Clockwise Deity have broken away due to unresolvable differences over the direction in which the collection plate is passed round.”
    “Another split? That’s the third this week!”
    “Fourth,” replied Joffy dourly, “and it’s only Tuesday. The Standardized pro-Baptist conjoined Methodarian-Lutherian sisters of something-or-other split into two subgroups yesterday. Soon,” he added grimly, “there won’t be enough ministers to man the splits.”
    • Chapter 6, “Family” (p. 81)
  • “Well,” he said thoughtfully, “it is my considered opinion that most coincidences are simply quirks of chance—if you extrapolate the bell curve of probability you will find statistical abnormalities that seem unusual but are, in actual fact, quite likely, given the amount of people on the planet and the amount of different things we do in our lives.”
    • Chapter 6, “Family” (p. 87)
  • Marriage, like spinach and opera, was something I had never thought I would like.
    • Chapter 7, “White Horse, Uffington, Picnics, for the Use of” (p. 93)
  • It wasn’t going to be hard—it was going to be impossible. It wouldn’t deter me. I’d done impossible things several times in the past, and the prospect didn’t scare me as much as it used to.
    • Chapter 10, “A Lack of Differences” (p. 124)
  • “Do you know what the worst bit about dying is?”
    “Tell me, Gran.”
    “You never get to see how it all turns out.”
    • Chapter 11, “Granny Next” (p. 136)
  • Mr. McGregor’s a nasty piece of work, isn’t he? Quite the Darth Vader of children’s literature.
    • Chapter 11, “Granny Next” (p. 139)
  • My father said it was a delightfully odd—and dangerously self-destructive—quirk of humans that we were far more interested in pointless trivia then in genuine news stories.
    • Chapter 12, “At Home with My Memories” (p. 141)
  • “You’re crazy!”
    “Undoubtedly. But look around you. You followed me in here. Who’s crazier? The crazy or the crazy who follows him?”
    • Chapter 23, “Fun with Spike” (p. 262)
  • “Don’t believe this,” murmured Miss Havisham. “It’s all poppycock. Her majesty is a verb short of a sentence.”
    • Chapter 25, “Roll Call at Jurisfiction” (p. 289)
  • “I’ll tell you what love is,” I told her. “It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your heart and soul to the smiter!”
    • Chapter 29, “Rescued” (p. 350)
  • “And nothing can stop it?”
    “Nothing I know of,” he replied sadly. “The best way to stop this is to not allow it to start—sort of a minimum entry requirement for man-made disasters, really.”
    • Chapter 32, “The End of Life as We Know It” (p. 377)

The Well of Lost Plots (2003) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback edition published by Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-303435-9, first printing
All italics as in the book
  • Books may look like nothing more than words on a page, but they are actually an infinitely complex imaginotransference technology that translates odd, inky squiggles into pictures inside your head.
    • Chapter 5, “The Well of Lost Plots” (p. 48)
  • “Write is only the word we use to describe the recording process,” replied Snell as we walked along. “The Well of Lost Plots is where we interface the writer’s imagination with the characters and plots so that it will make sense in the reader’s mind. After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer—perhaps more.”
    • Chapter 5, “The Well of Lost Plots” (p. 48)
  • “Books”—Snell smiled—“are a kind of magic.”
    • Chapter 5, “The Well of Lost Plots” (p. 49)
  • The atmosphere in the room was so thick with dramatic clichés you could have cut it with a knife.
    • Chapter 5, “The Well of Lost Plots” (p. 55)
  • Anything devised by man has bureaucracy, corruption and error hardwired at inception.
    • Chapter 9, “Apples Benedict, a Hedgehog and Commander Bradshaw” (p. 97)
  • The leader was identified by his dental records—why he had them on him, no one was quite sure.
    • Chapter 14, “Educating the Generics” (p. 136)
  • Preservation without expenditure is worthless.
    • Chapter 16, “Captain Nemo” (p. 157)
  • Failure concentrates the mind wonderfully. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.
    • Chapter 23, “Jurisfiction Session No. 40320” (p. 255)
  • Tyrants are all the same—shocking temper when they don’t get their own way!
    • Chapter 29, “Mrs. Bradshaw and Solomon (Judgments) Inc.” (p. 306)
  • No one had been more surprised than me by the arrival of the Great Panjandrum when I pulled the emergency handle. For the nonbelievers it was something of a shock, but not any less than for the faithful. She had been so long a figure of speech that seeing her in the flesh was something of a shock. I thought she had seemed quite plain and in her midthirties, but Humpty-Dumpty told me later he had been shaped like an egg. In any event, the marble statue that now stands in the lobby of the Council of Genres depicts the Great Panjandrum as Mr. Price the stonemason saw him—with a leather apron and carrying a mallet and stone chisel.
    • Chapter 34, “Loose Ends” (pp. 354-355)

Something Rotten (2004) edit

All page numbers are from the trade paperback edition published by Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-303541-X, 2nd printing
All italics as in the book
  • Hamlet would worry about having nothing to worry about if he had nothing to worry about.
    • Chapter 2, “No Place Like Home” (p. 21)
  • “’Tis very strange!” he murmured, staring at the sun, trees, houses and traffic in turn. “It would take a rhapsody of wild and whirling words to do justice of all that I witness!”
    “You’re going to have to speak English out here.”
    “All this,” explained Hamlet, waving his hands at the fairly innocuous Swindon street, “would take millions of words to describe correctly!”
    “You’re right. It would. That’s the magic of the book imagino-transference technology,” I told him. “A few dozen words conjure up an entire picture. But in all honesty the reader does most of the work.”
    “The reader? What’s it got to do with him?”
    “Well, each interpretation of an event, setting or character is unique to each of those who read it because they clothe the author’s description with the memory of their own experiences. Every character they read is actually a complex amalgam of people that they’ve met, read or seen before—far more real than it can ever be just from the text on the page. Because every reader’s experiences are different, each book is unique for each reader.”
    • Chapter 2, “No Place Like Home” (p. 21)
  • Good evening and welcome to Evade the Question Time, the nation’s premier topical talk show. Tonight, as every night, a panel of distinguished public figures generally evade answering the audience’s questions and instead toe the party line.
    • Chapter 3, “Evade the Question Time” (p. 47)
  • Money had never been a problem in the Book World. All the details of life were taken care of by something called Narrative Assumption. A reader would assume you had gone shopping, or gone to the toilet, or brushed your hair, so a writer never needed to outline it.
    • Chapter 5, “Ham(let) and Cheese” (pp. 72-73)
  • If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction—and ultimately, without a major resolution.
    • Chapter 5, “Ham(let) and Cheese” (p. 76)
  • My father always argued that time was far and away the most valuable commodity we had and that temporal profligacy should be a criminal offense—which kind of makes watching Celebrity Kidney Swap or reading Daphne Farquitt novels a crime straightaway.
    • Chapter 8, “Time Waits for No Man” (pp. 96-97)
  • “Look here, St. Zvlkx,” said Volescamper as they walked towards the marquee for tea and scones, “what was the thirteenth century like?”
    “The Mayor wants to know what the thirteenth century was like—and no lip, sunshine.”
    “Filthy, damp, disease-ridden and pestilential.”
    “He said it was like London, Your Grace.”
    • Chapter 11, “The Greatness of St. Zvlkx” (pp. 124-125; in the book, the second and third lines of this quote are set in Fraktur).
  • “Humans are molded by evolution to be short-termists, Miss Next,” he continued. His voice rumbled deeply and seemed to echo inside my head. “We need only to see our children to reproductive age to be successful in a biological sense. We have to move beyond that. If we see ourselves as residents on this planet for the long term, we need to plan for the long term.”
    • Chapter 15, “Meeting the CEO” (p. 148)
  • Whatever. As far as I can see, there is one state of dead and that’s ‘not living.’ Now, do you have anything useful to add to this investigation or not?”
    • Chapter 27, “Weird Shit on the M4” (p. 238)
  • For centuries I’ve been worrying about audiences seeing me as a mouthy spoiled brat who can’t make up his mind about anything, but, having seen the real world, I can understand the appeal. My play is popular because my failings are your failings, my indecision the indecision of you all. We all know what has to be done; it’s just that sometimes we don’t know how to get there. Acting without thought doesn’t really help in the long run. I might dither for a while, but at least I make the right decision in the end: I bear my troubles and take arms against them. And thereby lies a message for all mankind, although I’m not exactly sure what it is. Perhaps there’s no message. I don’t really know. Besides, if I don’t dither, there’s no play.
    • Chapter 43, “Recovery” (pp. 371-372)

External links edit

 
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