The Eyre Affair (Alex Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – 1 Jan 2002
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Pirouetting on the boundaries between sci-fi, the crime thriller and intertextual whimsy, Jasper Fforde's outrageous The Eyre Affairputs you on the wrong footing even on its dedication page, which proudly announces that the book conforms to Crimean War economy standard.
Fforde's heroine, Thursday Next, lives in a world where time and reality are endlessly mutable--someone has ensured that the Crimean War never ended for example--a world policed by men like her disgraced father, whose name has been edited out of existence. She herself polices text--against men like the Moriarty-like Acheron Styx, whose current scam is to hold the minor characters of Dickens' novels to ransom, entering the manuscript and abducting them for execution and extinction one by one. When that caper goes sour, Styx moves on to the nation's most beloved novel--an oddly truncated version of Jane Eyre--and kidnaps its heroine. The phlegmatic and resourceful Thursday pursues Acheron across the border into a Leninist Wales and further to Mr Rochester's Thornfield Hall, where both books find their climax on the roof amid flames.
Fforde is endlessly inventive: his heroine's utter unconcern about the strangeness of the world she inhabits keeps the reader perpetually double-taking as minor certainties of history, literature and cuisine go soggy in the corner of our eye. The audacity of the premise and its working out provides sudden leaps of understanding, many of them accompanied by wild fits of the giggles. This is a peculiarly promising first novel. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
[She's] part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew and part Dirty Harry (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, on Thursday Next)
Delightfully clever ... Filled with clever wordplay, literary allusion and bibliowit, THE EYRE AFFAIR combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But its quirky charm is all its own. (Wall Street Journal) --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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It has the feel of the best, witty school magazine writing- Clever puns in a whimsical fantasy land where anything can happen-so it does to save the author having to tie up ends.
A bit like eating paella-gets at bit repetitive half way across the plate.
That said, glad I read it but probably won't bother with sequels.
The best joke name?-Bowden Cable.
Anyway without giving anything away this is a fantastic book. It is refreshing to read something so original and also refreshing to read a good book about a female detective. I didn't give this book the full 5 stars as I did think towards the end it was a bit far fetched. Saying that though I loved the ending to the book and I don't think I'd want it any other way.
I've ordered the next book in the 'Thursday Next' series and can't wait for it to come! I am instantly hooked :D
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.
It follows the exploits of Fforde's protagonist Thursday Next, a literary detective working in the SpecOps LiteraTec conglomeration of town Swindon. Thursday arrives in Swindon to capture the fiendish megalomaniac Acheron Hades, who is intent upon stereotypical world domination. Acheron, accompanied by Dr Müller, Mr Hobbes, Mr Delamere, and clones of his most respected associate Felix Tabularasa plan to kidnap characters from works of fiction and hold them for ransom.
It is the responsibility of LiteraTec(s) to ensure all works of literature suffer little, and so Thursday must apprehend Acheron and his numerous hired guns before the entire divined plan gets out of hand. In the meanwhile, Thursday has to deal with the her stolen uncle and aunt, the proceeding Crimean war, the pacification of omnipotent Goliath Corporation employee Jack Schitt, keeping her job, attempt to prevent her life-long beau from marrying, battle some reticent vampires, discover who is responsible for writing the plays of Shakespeare, and find time to manage walking her pet dodo Pickwick around the park.
Jasper Fforde's style is refreshingly eccentric. The Eyre Affair is thoroughly well researched, and Fforde's warped talent at invention remains strong throughout the novel. Thursday Next is a charismatic character, and Fforde handles her misdemeanors and idiosyncrasies with consistency. What is most catching, however, is the fact that Jasper Fforde has managed to write something without genre, or imitation.
The Eyre Affair is a quirky, winsome and original book, full of delirious creativity-the inventor of the banana, holes in time/space, a time-travelling father, talking bookworms, re-engineered neanderthals, the Cheshire cat, Edward Rochester-and some reasonably good jokes. Indeed, Jasper Fforde has initiated a sequence of novels which, in the future, might prove brilliant in their conception.
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