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Shades of Grey A Novel [Hardcover]

Jasper Fforde
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 5.99  
Hardcover 16.99  
Hardcover, 29 Dec 2009 --  
Paperback 6.29  
Audio, CD, Audiobook --  
Audio Download, Unabridged 11.35 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

29 Dec 2009

Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.

Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour.

Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane - a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed.

For Eddie, it's love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey . . .

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books (29 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670019631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670019632
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 16.3 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,649,537 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)

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

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)

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

There are distinct shades of Orwell's 1984 (Daily Express) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The first in a new series from Britain's most creative comic genius Jasper Fforde. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
118 of 123 people found the following review helpful
By P. M. Fernandez VINE VOICE
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 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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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Joseph Haschka HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
Easily my favourite Jasper Fforde book, and I love all of his books. Such a thought-provoking setting for a story, and such interesting and captivating concepts and characters -... Read more
Published 20 days ago by LSH
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Next episode please!
Published 28 days ago by Apen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
wonderful book, just desparate for the sequal which doesn't appear to be ever coming.
Published 1 month ago by A. Ewalpole
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
super fab
Published 1 month ago by claire
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic
This book was suggested to me by my boyfriend, and I downloaded it onto my kindle

This book is just fantastic, gripping story, subtly amusing and really takes you into... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Fay Montlake
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'soon-to-be-classic-of-our-times'... you read it here first!
This was my.... quick count of the books on the shelf...... 10th JF book (all read back-to-back) and, I can honestly say, this is his masterpiece.. so far. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Abe Loke
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Loved it, I've read the Thursday Next series and Nursery Series, but I've got to say I enjoyed reading this the most and it is something I would enjoy reading again. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Fforde
Initially bamboozling but ultimately brilliant. This book gripped me till the end and I now want to read the other two, shame they're not on the kindle.
Published 3 months ago by Briony&Julian
5.0 out of 5 stars ingenious - incredible - brilliant
An ingenious plot which was challenging as well as entertaining. The hero was a true hero and the story amazing. It was exciting and poignant at times. Read more
Published 3 months ago by hayherbalist
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy ****! Such a great take on the future
Wow, completely speechless! This is book is truly fascinating and completely different to anything I've read before. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lauren
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