The Eyre Affair Paperback – Jul 19 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
From Publishers Weekly
This novel might be called "James Bond Meets Harry Potter in the Twilight Zone." In fact, the reader plays "name that literary reference" through most of this zany work, where characters wander around in time from the Crimean War through the present and into the future, and in and out of novels including, of course, Jane Eyre. The narrator, Tuesday Next, is a tough, gun-totin' heart-of-gold heroine with a pet dodo, a true love she has refused to acknowledge and a brilliant, dotty scientist uncle named Mycroft. Her job is to rescue literary characters kidnapped out of books from being wiped off the face of every copy of a work by tracking down and outwitting the purely evil Asheron Hades and Goliath Corporation greedyman Jack Shit. Throughout, discussions of who really wrote Shakespeare's plays abound, along with send-ups of every literary genre from the highest to the lowest brow. Sastre's reading works particularly well because she's good at the straight narrative, while the nature of the book's language makes melodramatic voices for the other bizarre characters. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 17, 2001).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It takes place an alternate world where the Crimean War has lasted over a century, vampirism and lycanthropy are like diseases, time can be warped, and people can fall in and out of books and plays -- and if it's the original work, it will change all the other copies. Thursday Next is an agent for a special division devoted to literature, and is on the trail of the villainous Acheron Hades after the theft of the manuscript of "Martin Chuzzlewit" by Charles Dickens. To complicate matters more, her old boyfriend Landen has reentered the picture, and the obnoxious Schitt of the powerful Goliath Corporation is following Thursday.
Hades seems to have been killed, but Thursday is almost sure that he isn't. It turns out she's right -- he kidnaps her aunt and "mad as pants" uncle Mycroft Next, who has just made a machine that allows people to wander into pieces of literature. Hades's plot is to use the machine to disrupt literature as we know it. First he kills a minor character from "Martin Chuzzlewit," and then kidnaps Jane Eyre (in this parallel universe, the novel has a very different ending). Thursday Next teams up with the brooding Rochester and an odd bunch of characters to save Jane -- and all the other great works of literature.
This is one of the best-conceived and best-executed ideas in recent years.Read more ›
I am a huge fan of books about books. It’s very meta, I know, but when you love reading books about books are an added layer of brilliant on an already fun past time. So it was with great glee that I found the Thursday Next series on display at my local bookstore. I was drawn in by the cover art, read the back blurb of one and was instantly drawn in by the phrase “Thursday Next, literary detective”. I mean really, how can you not be intrigued by that premise?
So I bought the first book in the series. I didn’t read it right away. It sat idle for several months. But I picked it up a few weeks ago when another book I was reading just wasn’t cutting it. The Eyre Affair was my hope for respite from a book that had seemed like a chore, and what a lovely respite it was.
I won’t go into too many of the plot details because I don’t want to spoil it for future readers, but the broad view of it is that Thursday’s assistance is required when a well known criminal begins stealing the original manuscripts of a few well known classics and threatens to dangerously and permanently alter them…in a way the reader will not be expecting.
Besides the plot, the small details of the world of Thursday Next are brilliant in and of themselves, and brought me many smiles when I’d come across them. In Thursday’s world Wales is a Socialist country, blocked off from the rest of the world. The dodo bird is no longer extinct (thanks to scientific reproduction), and the characters have names like Braxton Hicks and Jack Schitts.
I highly recommend the Eyre Affair if you are looking for a fun, light read, and especially if you are a lover of books.
The plot involves Thursday Next, a LiteraTec, investigating the disappearance of the original Martin Chuzzlewit manuscript, which leads to the theft of the original Jane Eyre manuscript. The story has elements of murder, espionage, war, romance, vampires and werewolves, time travel, and off-the-cuff humour, such as:
"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
"Because Poe wrote on both?"
Hahahaha! Then there's some dialogue like:
"Haven't I seen your face somewhere else?"
"No, it's always been right here on the front of my head."
Well, all of it isn't that corny, and although I didn't laugh out loud, it did cause some grins.
Highly recommended for those with a literary background, who appreciate off-the-wall humour, and who don't take reality seriously.
Granted, the love affair development between Thursday and Landen is a bit stale, but that is not the focus of the work. The wonderment of this book is how, in the name of all things sacred, did Fforde come up with this plot and story line?! The character development of Thursday Next allows us to see her for who she is in the context of the story, and we can visiualize what her uncle's inventions are or her annoyance at her father's inability to stay more than five minutes at a time.
This was a good distraction from writing my thesis... now, if only I can get my hands on a couple of those bookworms...
Most recent customer reviews
I struggle to believe this is meant for adults and I seriously doubt young people would find it amusing.Published 7 months ago by Peter van Rens
For the first half of the novel, one might have asked if it had the wrong name, but by the time the book ends, one can probably agree that "The Eyre Affair" is at least as good a... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2009 by Dave_42
Frankly, not at all that five-star. I bought this based on all the positive reviews (readers and critics), and the book jacket itself in which the plot sounded clever enough. Read morePublished on June 18 2005
There are a lot of funny, UK authors out there. However, there are few that are imaginative and original as Jasper Fforde. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2004
From out of the literary wilderness of today's flaccid, made-for-Hollywood fiction comes Jasper Fforde with a cast of characters from the pages of history (both past and future). Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2004 by Alexandra Scott
As a fan of Jane Eyre, I was looking forward to this book. I found the concept very interesting and delightful. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by jrth97
Jasper Fforde hit the mark with this one. I realize it's now 2004, and the fourth book in the Thursday Next series is soon to be released, but I'm writing about book one... Read morePublished on July 12 2004
Don't bother reading this book if you are A, poorly read in basic English literature and/or B unappreciative of dry wit. Read morePublished on June 29 2004 by A. Ryan