The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Published by Penguin Books on February 25th 2003
Series: Thursday Next #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Science Fiction
Length: 374 pages Source: Amazon
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Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . .
Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . .
Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe.
Love, love, love!
I have been intending to pick this book up for, I kid you not, seven years. It was well worth the wait. I remember the girl sitting next to me in tenth grade English reading it, and I asked her what it was about (we were reading Jane Eyre in class, which I thought was ghastly by-the-by, but that’s one person’s opinion). I’ve always had so many books to read I just never got around to it, but wow. I’m glad I did. Such originality and creativity.
As I mentioned, I am not, in any way, shape, or form, a fan of Jane Eyre. But that hardly matters with this book. Jane Eyre’s story is merely a setting and the real delight lies in the puzzle pieces around Thursday learning about traveling into books, and stopping the dastardly villain (whom I always imagine with a mustache. Can’t really tell you why). Anybody who enjoys literature will enjoy this series for similar reasons that Inkheart is delightful: the author has discovered a new way to bring books to life.
I particularly enjoyed how the book is written in all seriousness (there is a lot of conversation about “Crimea” which was a war that many of the characters fought in)… but yet there is also a lot of silliness thrown in (Thursday’s father is just a hoot!). While I never got much to liking Thursday, all the people in this book as quirky and interesting and definitely make you want to keep turning the pages.