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The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next) Paperback – 19 Jul 2001
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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
What Fforde is pulling is a variation on the classic Monty Python gambit: the incongruous juxtaposition og low comedy and high erudition - this scam has not been pulled off with such off-hand finesse and manic verve since the Pythons shut up shop. 'The Eyre Affair' is a silly book for smart people: postmodernism played as raw, howling farce (Independent)
It is always a privilege to watch the birth of a cult, and Hodder has just cut the umbilical cord. Always ridiculous, often hilarious ... blink and you miss a vital narrative leap. There are shades of Douglas Adams, Lewis Carroll, 'Clockwork Orange' and '1984'. And that's just for starters (Time Out)
Ingenious - I'll watch Jasper Fforde nervously (Terry Pratchett)
Surely a cult in the making (Marie Clare)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
good fun, fantasy romp - probably not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. Lots of literary humour.Published 12 days ago by osmonde
The Eyre Affair is the first of the Thursday Next series that currently encompasses seven books with an eighth in the works. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Walter
The story is total nonsense yet it entertains throughout. Thursday Next, so called by Mr and Mrs Next because their daughter was born on a Thursday, is scatty but has a certain... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paulus
A really fun read which gallops along and presents an engaging heroine whose world I would love to live in, and whose future adventures I really want to read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rupert C
A fascinating manipulation of literary references in a crazy adventure in an intriguingly off-beat world. I'm left wondering what else Mr. Next has been up to..... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Every so often, as a reader, you come across a book that is, quite simply, a joy to read. As far as I am concerned The Eyre Affair by Jasper FForde is one of these, and yes, I know... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Fenland Bookworm