Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Reading The Eyre Affair during lunch.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Rating: 4/5

This book was recommended to me a while back and I finally got around to reading it and well, I loved it!

I'm finding it hard to describe the plot because so many things were going on and I liked so many subplots I can't figure out a concise way to explain it all... so I won't, here's a summary from WorldCat:
Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodas are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Based on an imaginary world where time and reality bend in the most convincing and original way since The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Eyre Affair is a delightful rabbit hole of a read: once you fall in you may never come back. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in Wordsworth poems, militant Baconians roam freely spreading the gospel that Bacon, not Shakespeare, penned those immortal works. And forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. This is all business as usual for brainy, bookish (and heat-packing) Thursday Next, a renowned Special Operative in literary detection -- that is, until someone begins murdering characters from works of literature. When this madman plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte's novel Thursday faces the challenge of her career. Aided and abetted by characters that include her time-traveling father, an executive of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday must track down the world's Third Most Wanted criminal and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide. A brilliantly outlandish and absorbing caper destined to become a classic adventure tale, The Eyre Affair is an irresistible thriller and the introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer. In Jasper Fforde's singular fictional universe no literary character is safe from crime. And for Special Operative Thursday Next this is only the beginning ...
Did that summary get you excited!? I hope so.

Anyway a couple quick points:
  • I read Jane Eyre in high school but completely forget the plot, so while reading this novel I assumed their description of the novel was correct, until the end of the book when I found out the truth. I have to say I liked not remembering the story of Jane Eyre while I read this book and then quickly reading the wikipedia page of the story... well I was blown away at how well the author dealt with this... I won't say anymore, unless I reveal too much
  • All the British literary references Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Francis Bacon, and others were wonderful! I had to do a little wikipedia-ing though to get all the jokes.
  • This story has a diabolical villain! The character of Acheron Hades is worth reading. Avarice! I would love to read a novel just about this character.
Over all this was an excellent book filled with literary humor, science-fiction fun and for a bonus it has a diabolical villain.

I highly recommend!

A joke on page 111:
Q: Why is a raven like a writing desk?
A: Because Poe wrote on both.


  1. I've got to re-read this... I think it's been at least 8 years for me, but I remember loving both the plot and Fforde's sense of humor. I hear he's got more books, this is a good reminder to check them out.

    Glad you enjoyed it. Keep the book reviews & recs coming.

  2. @Jennifer yes his sense of humor was great... I'm certainly have the other books in the series in my "to read" list.

    And thank you!

  3. I loved this book when I first picked it up and remember giggling the whole way through. (It was passed over to me by the Mum, of all people. We do not, normally, share the same taste in literature.) It has a charming irreverent take on... well... everything from literature to history. It's set in an alternate reality where literature is, if not kind, at least very very significant.


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