Early Riser by Jasper Fforde had been on my list of books to look out for ever since it was published last year. It perhaps wasn’t the best time to request this book from the library, when I was feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted. There is a lot about sleep and dreams in it; ironically in an overheated environment I kept falling asleep over it.
As Jasper Fforde is one of my (many) favourite authors I reread the book carefully before its three weeks’ loan was over. It was much easier to follow the plot the second time round. There were hints at what was going on, but with a large character cast, a complex social system, new uses for existing words and neologisms aplenty, knowing how some of the threads had been tied up helped me make more sense of the beginning. As usual Fforde has created a wealth of literature for the backstory to this novel from which he quotes at the beginning of each chapter. There are also his customary footnotes, which add to the text in an amusing way.
It is fantasy about an alternative reality. The humour is very dark in places. Readers familiar with classical literature, celebrities and books will appreciate this book better than those who are less widely read. Some knowledge of the geography of Wales might also help. I had to research some of the celebrities (i.e. ask hubby!) and probably should check some Greek myths.
Or you could just read it and use a search engine to see whether any of the character names have been recycled! Another good candidate for reading groups to discuss.