17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and whimsical, but I loved it :)
In order to save your time and money, if you don't like books that require you to suspend your disbelief, don't buy this book. On the other hand, even if you are one of those who generally don't enjoy books that require the reader to use his imagination, you can enormously enjoy this book. So I guess it all comes down to whether or not you are willing to risk it...
Published on 20 Sep 2005 by M. B. Alcat
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly off-kilter
This is the sort of book that many, many people will find appealing. It’s a silly, bizarre, uproariously funny novel that simultaneously pays homage to and needles an array of esteemed literary classics. In an alternate world in the year 1985, Wales is independent, the Crimean war is still being waged and unfathomable things such as time-travel are very possible. In...
Published on 5 Dec 2003 by J. Humphreys
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and whimsical, but I loved it :),
The plot is pretty strange. Fforde takes us to a surreal version of Great Britain, in the year 1985. We can recognize some aspects of his world, but not all of them. For example, in the author's world, technology is much more advanced (it is acceptable to clone extinguished animals and to have them as pets), the Crimean War didn't stop and everybody loves literature. It could be said that literature is for them what sports are to us: a national passion. Anyway, in that kind of world, that is already beginning to sound weird (but in a nice way), there is a Special Operations Network that was created in order to "handle policing duties considered either to unusual or too specialized to be tackled by the regular force". Most of the operatives are rather peculiar. There is a saying that explains that more clearly: "If you want to be a SpecOp, act kinda weird...".
Miss Thursday Nexts is a Spec- Op 27 who loves literature and specializes in problems related to literature, like all Spec-ops 27. She is intelligent and capable, strong but also vulnerable, and she was a sense of humor I found delightful. Thursday is more or less bored with her job, due to the fact that she finds it too routinary. After all, how many book forges can you detect before getting bored?. However, something is going to happen that is going to change her ordinary tasks. Someone discovers a way to "jump" into books, and as a result a criminal mastermind has a strange idea: he devices a way to kidnap a character of one of the most beloved books.
From that point onwards, the reader will accompany agent Next in her bizarre investigation. I can guarantee something: you won't be bored. The plot has a high degree of unpredictability, and some characters are not only atypical but also mystifying. As a result, "The Eyre Affair" has a dreamlike quality I consider enchanting and very appealing. You might be puzzled sometimes, but you will relish that feeling.
I would like to highlight the fact that the author makes lots of literary allusions, but that is only to be expected, due to the fact that in Thursday's world literature is extremely important. An small example?: so many people change their names in order to have the name of a famous author, that they need to be also identified with numbers, to avoid confusions. From my point of view, the constant evident or implied references to literature (books and characters) was charming. I probably didn't catch all the allusions, but I caught enough of them in order to be interested and pleased. I don't think you need to be an "expert" in order to enjoy this book. Even if you don't have a high degree of knowledge regarding literature, you are bound to appreciate it... And who knows, you might end up learning a bit, as I did.
Fforde style is eccentric and whimsical, but I loved it. This book was certainly something different, that made me think several times, and laugh a lot. I will continue reading the series, because I value a good book that is original, and Fforde is decidedly capable of writing them. On balance, I highly recommend this book to you. Enjoy it as much as I did !.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Eyre-Head Detective Here,
It always annoys me that there aren't enough well written women detectives in fiction, so when I saw this one on offer, I figured, what the Hell, I've read worse books in my time, might as well give this a go. And boy and I glad I did!
Thursday Next is one of the most alive characters I've read in a long time. This representation of Rochester - as unexpected as it was - had me going back to a version of `Jane Eyre' that I brought years ago. So I checked the references in `The Eyre Affair' with `Jane Eyre' and straight away after read `Jane Eyre' for the fist time in my life - two good books for the price of one.
The story twists and turns, but never fails to amuse, the covert, and occasionally obvious, cross-references brought out some real laughs. I loved the idea of the Socialist Republic of Wales, being a conservative in Swansea this really appealed, and no, it doesn't always rain here.
So give it a try, pick up `The Eyre Affair', read and enjoy.
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book - worth missing sleep to read,
By A Customer
And a heroine who never once worries about her weight.
Its got it all, plot, characters (I'm still not sure how someone with as few appearances an Landon can come across so strongly as a character), jokes (possibly you need a slightly odd sense of humour) and two happy endings. If you need down to earth reality where you know exactly where you stand, this probably isn't the book for you. If you're happy to let reality look after itself for a couple of hours, you should like it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic trip through fiction,
This review is from: The Eyre Affair (Paperback)I thoroughly enjoyed this book with it's crazy mix of fiction, good guys chasing bad guys and quirky humour.
Thursday Next is a Literatec (or Literary detective) in a world where changes can be made to books if you can just get hold of the original manuscript and it is her job to stop to stop arch villain Acheron Hades from destroying Jane Eyre after he kidnaps Jane from the manuscript and alters all the copies.
If you enjoy classic fiction (especially Jane Eyre); Douglas Adams and Alice in Wonderland then you will probably enjoy this.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original, funny book,
The Eyre Affair is one of the most original books I have read, if not the most original. Fforde really excels at creating a skewed world where things are similar to the real world, but also completely and utterly different. Thursday Next is a Literary Detective who must defeat the evil Acheron Hades scheme to hold Britain to ransom for Jane Eyre, who he has kidnapped from her book. The book is very funny, combining high- and low-brow humour in a way reminiscent of Monty Python. It also helps to have just a little knowledge of English literature!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected!,
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where reality and imagination are inextricably intertwined.,
Despite a slight first-novelish woodenness to the pace of the story I'm greatly looking forward to the Next instalment (pun intended but you'll have to read the book to find out why).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a damn good read,
Many others have already said it; this is neither one genre or another, and a nightmare to try and describe, (and fantasy is not my genre at all) as there's a bit of everything in here. But none crowd each other or fail to gel - Crime, fantasy, touch of low tech sci-fi, vampires, love story, cheesy villians (Acheron is only the 3rd most evil being on the planet) and low brow in-jokes of high brow literature classics.
Now, reading it like that, many will say these things can't work together. Jasper Fforde, on his website (which displays the cult the author has built with just two books) tells the story of the 76 rejections, before a publisher took a punt; he said no agent or publisher ever got beyond the synopsis, as soon as he was read, it started to happen for him.
He has also trodden carefully in Jane Eyre territory. Obviously fond of the book, so couldn't bring himself to give her much dialogue. However, while Jane is off narrating her book (Jane Eyre is written in the first person, as is his book) the resulting 'downtime' for the off stage characters is used a lot and provides much of the fun of this book.
On the writing side, his use of adverbs in dialogue is a little annoying. When the meaning and tone of speech is quite clear, it seems unneccesary - but plenty of writers do overuse them, so that's probably just one of my quirks. I also thought his general description of place was a little thin. I didn't visualise a number of the settings very well. That could be me too, but none of it detracts from the enjoyable read.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An brilliantly vivid, clever and enjoyable debut,
I'm right aren't I? You weren't doing any of those things were you...
Well that is probably because you weren't in the version of 1985 that Thursday Next occupies where her father works for the time travelling ChronoGuards's and Thursday herself works in SO-27 - literary detective division, which as Thursday herself puts it is "way less glamorous than it sounds". Unlike most of her contemporaries though Thursday is not just a desk jockey, she has seen action in Crimea and carries a whole load of baggage around with her to prove it as a certain Landen can testify too...
However Thursday has slightly more pressing issues. Issues in the shape of world's 3rd most dangerous man - Acheron Hades. A man so dangerous that he cannot be caught on camera, is aware of a persons presence the second they mention his name and can bend the will of all those around him. In normal day to day activities Thursday would have little to do with such an arch villain but she has come across him before and knows what he looks like, not something that you would think would be a problem but remember he cannot be caught on camera...
When SO-5 come calling asking for Thursday's help she is both excited and concerned - she knows how dangerous Acheron can be - does she really want to go hunting for him? When Martin Chuzzlewit goes missing she realises she has to help...
I only read this book on the recommendation of a friend who is really taken with the series but when I next see him I will certainly be thanking him for putting me onto them - this really is fantastically good. It is certainly whimsical, off beat and down right bizarre at times but written with such an imagination that you are completely sucked in to the world that Jasper Fforde creates - you can feel a real affinity with the characters - even characters liberated from other stories!
This is a really promising start; I just hope the next books in the series can hold a candle to it.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wild trip into an alternative universe.,
This review is from: The Eyre Affair (Paperback)Jasper Fforde has a rich imagination that moves in wacky directions, an off-the-wall sense of humor that never quits, and a deep knowledge and love of literature which give shape and substance to this hilarious "thing" he's created. Not really a mystery, sci-fi thriller, satire, or fluffy fantasy, this wild rumpus contains elements of all these but feels like a completely new genre. Fforde combines "real" people from the "historically challenged" world of his plot with characters from classic novels, adding dollops of word play, irony, literary humor, satire--and even a dodo bird--just for spice.
With "real" characters who can stop time or travel back and forth in it, hear their own names (the names here are really terrific!) from 1000 yards away, appear in duplicate before themselves to give advice, travel inside books, and change the outcome of history, the reader journeys through Fforde's looking glass into a different and far more literary universe than the one we know. Thursday Next, a SpecOp-27 in the Literary Detective Division of Special Operations, is looking for Acheron Hades, who has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and killed one of the characters in it, thereby changing the story forever. Thursday and the Literatecs are trying to prevent him from getting inside Jane Eyre and committing further murders.
If you have not read Jane Eyre recently, your pleasure in this book will be greatly enhanced if you look up a brief plot summary on-line before proceeding too far--the ending of Jane Eyre as we know it is different from the ending of Jane Eyre as Thursday Next knows it, and the differences themselves become a delightful part of this plot. Though some readers seem to feel that the book would benefit from a bit of pruning in order to strengthen its conclusion, that suggestion seems to me to be too much like Acheron Hades changing Martin Chuzzlewit or Jane Eyre--if you do that, something is irreparably lost--and this book is so much fun that I'd hate to lose even a single word! Mary Whipple
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Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (Turtleback - April 2002)
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