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Shades of Grey Hardcover – 14 Jan 2010


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Shades of Grey + The Big Over Easy: An Investigation with the Nursery Crime Division (Nursery crimes)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition edition (14 Jan 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340963034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340963036
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jasper Fforde is the critically acclaimed author of The Last Dragonslayer series: THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER, THE SONG OF THE QUARKBEAST and THE EYE OF ZOLTAR, SHADES OF GREY, the Nursery Crime books: THE BIG OVER EASY and THE FOURTH BEAR and the Thursday Next novels: THE EYRE AFFAIR, LOST IN A GOOD BOOK, THE WELL OF LOST PLOTS, SOMETHING ROTTEN, FIRST AMONG SEQUELS, ONE OF OUR THURSDAYS IS MISSING and THE WOMAN WHO DIED A LOT.

After giving up a varied career in the film world, he now lives and writes in Wales, and has a passion for aviation.

To find out more visit Jasper's website www.jasperfforde.com, Facebook page www.facebook.com/jasperffordebooks or follow him on Twitter @jasperfforde.

Product Description

Review

Full of brilliantly inventive wordplay and quirky fabrications (Mail on Sunday)

This colour-coded world of black-and-white regulations and heirachies is created with spry invention and wit (Daily Mail)

'A brilliantly written book, full of witticisms, wordplay and puns' (News of the World)

'A chromatic tale of fantastical wackiness where colour becomes an aspirational commodity . . . Jasper Fforde's most ambitious novel yet' (Herald)

'An utter delight . . . The world Fforde has created in SHADES OF GREY is colourful beyond description.' (TheBookbag.co.uk)

'There are distinct shades of Orwell's 1984' (Daily Express)

SHADES OF GREY has something of a flavour of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. . .but the novel is much gentler than Gilliam's savage madcappery, and Fforde's world is more old-fashioned public school than bureaucratic nightmare (Guardian)

'Vintage Fforde: zany, original and teeming with complexity.' (Sunday Times, Australia)

Full of colourful characters and amusingly bizarre plot twists. . . SHADES OF GREY is a clever and enjoyable read (SFX Magazine)

This fantastically clever book is a riveting read (Star Magazine)

'A vividly imagined landscape whose every facet is steeped in the author's remarkably detailed color scheme' (Publishers Weekly)

'All brilliantly original' (Booklist)

Praise for Jasper Fforde (:)

'Fforde's books are more than an ingenious idea. They are written with buoyant zest and are tautly plotted . . . and are embellished with the rich details of a Dickens or Pratchett' (Independent)

'Fans of the late Douglas Adams or, even, Monty Python, will feel at home with Fforde' (Herald)

'No summaries can do justice to the sheer inventiveness, wit, complexity, erudition, unexpectedness and originality of the works, nor to their vast repertoire of intricate wordplay and puns' (The Times)

Book Description

Imagine a black and white world where colour is a commodity . . . It is a world invented by comic and creative genius - and Number One bestseller - Jasper Fforde.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 124 people found the following review helpful By P. M. Fernandez VINE VOICE on 2 Dec 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It was not a month ago that I finished my last Jasper Fforde book, and was bemoaning the lack of further work by him to read. So I was more than delighted to have the opportunity to read his latest book.

This is the first book in another new series. I spend the first thirty pages of a Jasper Fforde series undergoing severe cognitive dissonance - or to put it another way, wondering what the heck is going on. The next thirty pages are spent thinking something like: "Hmm. Let's run with this a little further." And the rest of the book (and indeed, subsequent books in the series) passes by in an increasingly addicted scamper.

The plot of "Shades of Grey" moves Fforde firmly in the direction of Science Fiction, rather than the kind of literary fantasy that constitutes the The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next) and The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime) series, and the scope of the work is also bigger. We find ourselves in a future world, in which people have limited colour perception, and this is what determines their social standing. Edward Russett, a young man who is yet to take his place in society, finds himself struggling to accept the status quo, and as the book develops, we start to learn some sinister facts. Think of "Nineteen Eighty Four", "The Matrix" or "Brave New World", but with a lighter touch.

It isn't hard to read into "Shades of Grey" a parable of modern societies - it is well worth thinking through the implications of intolerance, racism and the priority of the system above individuals as you read the book.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jim J-R on 4 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I honestly can't think what to say about Shades of Grey. It's a fantastic book - deeper and much more cerebral than I had been expecting. I had thought it would be something more of a comedy romp, a little more like Fforde's previous Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series. Instead it's a modern masterpiece that I really hope becomes this half-century's equivalent to 1984.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world some 700 years in the future, so long after the 'Something that Happened' that no one can remember what made the world this way. Your social status is decided by colour - not of your skin, but how much, and which colour you can see. The Purples at the top of the pile down to the Reds at the bottom, and the Grey slave class that sit below the lot. Lives are lived by a set of arcane rules that no one understand, but everyone follows religiously. Until Eddie Russet has an idea to improve the efficiency of the lunch queue and his life changes beyond recognition.

It's quite frustrating in a way, as we see the world through Eddie's eyes (red) and so only learn things which he sees it fit to tell us. Usually that is not stuff about the world, as it is written 'in universe', so the narration assumes you know how the world is. As such there are lots of things you don't discover until it becomes relevant to the plot. On the other hand though this is a genius method for making want to keep turning pages to find out more, and it enables surprise to follow surprise. There are things that seem so obvious now that it seems unbelievable that I didn't see them coming.

Fforde has definitely surpassed his previous work with this one. Deep and meaningful while full of satire and humour, it's the most thought provoking novel I've read for a long time if ever. I can only hope that its sequels live up to its legacy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By pigsmayfly on 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really good example of where Amazon reader reviews are so useful. I found this book REALLY hard to get into. Without any preamble, the author launches the reader into a very strange world thats quite difficult to comprehend, at first. A person's status in society is decided on by their ability to perceive colour, although most - from what I can gather - are only able to perceive one colour anyway. Greys, being unable to perceive any colour, are the lowest rung on the ladder.

Left to my own devices, I would have abandonned this book after the second chapter. However, I did bother myself to read the Amazon reviews and was confused by nearly all of them saying how wonderful this book was. There were a few though, that agreed it was difficult to get into and advocated persevering, which I did. After a few more chapters, I realised I wasn't struggling with the concept anymore and really quite enjoying it.

This is much darker than Fforde's previous works, all of which I have read, and very political. I did enjoy it, however, it was hard work at first. I feel it would have been fairly simple to introduce and explain the concept to the reader, as was managed with the Thursday Next series. Personally, I'm waiting (in vain, methinks) for the follow up to The Fourth Bear............ Mr Fforde, please??
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Jun 2010
Format: Hardcover
"2.3.06.02.087: Unnecessary sharpening of pencils constitutes a waste of public resources, and will be punished as appropriate.

2.3.03.01.006: Juggling shall not be practiced after 4:00 p.m.

3.06.03.12.009: Croquet mallets are not to be used for knocking in the hoops. Fine: one merit."

'- Examples of Rules to be followed by members of the Collective

Those readers of the Thursday Next series can only marvel at the flights of fancy of the author, Jasper Fforde. In SHADES OF GREY, the author creates a new fantastical realm, Chromatacia.

Herein, it's presumably our planet Earth, or one on an alternate timeline, several centuries in the future. Five-hundred years previous to the time of the book, there was the Something That Happened, an apparently cataclysmic event that left the human survivors unable to distinguish the full visible color spectrum. Now, each individual perceives only one color or color range, or a small part of several color ranges at best. Society is organized into the Collective, and an individual's social status is governed by the Chromatic Hierarchy, i.e. the color he/she can perceive. Purples are at the top. Greys, at the bottom, are treated not much better than serfs. Bacon is considered the choicest of foods. The greatest life-threatening dangers are ostensibly posed by swans, flying monkeys, pookas, ball lightning, and a carnivorous tree called a yateveo. The Collective's laws and rules for living, enforced by the widely-hated Yellows, are derived from the Word of Munsell.

Technology from the time previous to the Something That Happened survives in roads made of Perpetulite, a living substance that allows the road to repair itself and push inorganic obstacles, e.g. rocks, to the verges.
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