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The Eyre Affair [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Jasper Fforde , Elizabeth Sastre
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2002
The word "unique" is overused and frequently misused. Here, however, is an instance where it truly applies. But to call The Eyre Affair a unique first novel featuring a fearless fictional adventurer barely begins to tell the story. When asked to summarize his creation is a single sentence, Jasper Fforde described it as "a literary detective thriller with romantic overtones, mad-inventor uncles, aunts trapped in Wordsworth poems, global multinationals, scheming evildoers, an excursion inside the novel Jane Eyre, dodos, knight-errant-time-traveling fathers, and the answer to the eternal question: Who really wrote Shakespeare's plays?" Swindon, a traditionally tranquil English town, is the ironic setting for most of these oddball characters and peculiar goings-on; the year is 1985. Fforde spins his wildly imaginative crime caper in language every bit as ingenious as the madcap plot; his devilishly clever turns of phrase take the form of verbal puzzles, anagrams, and literary and cinematic in-jokes.

Long involved in the movie-making business, Fforde gives a starring role to Thursday Next, a captivating sleuth whose respect for literature matches that of her creator. The essence of Thursday's quest is the capture of Acheron Hades, a wily cad whose dastardly crime is murder of characters from the classics.

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Penzler Pick, January 2002: When I first heard the premise of this unique mystery, I doubted that a first-time author could pull off a complicated caper involving so many assumptions, not the least of which is a complete suspension of disbelief. Jasper Fforde is not only up to the task, he exceeds all expectations.

Imagine this. Great Britain in 1985 is close to being a police state. The Crimean War has dragged on for more than 130 years and Wales is self-governing. The only recognizable thing about this England is her citizens' enduring love of literature. And the Third Most Wanted criminal, Acheron Hades, is stealing characters from England's cherished literary heritage and holding them for ransom.

Bibliophiles will be enchanted, but not surprised, to learn that stealing a character from a book only changes that one book, but Hades has escalated his thievery. He has begun attacking the original manuscripts, thus changing all copies in print and enraging the reading public. That's why Special Operations Network has a Literary Division, and it is why one of its operatives, Thursday Next, is on the case.

Thursday is utterly delightful. She is vulnerable, smart, and, above all, literate. She has been trying to trace Hades ever since he stole Mr. Quaverley from the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and killed him. You will only remember Mr. Quaverley if you read Martin Chuzzlewit prior to 1985. But now Hades has set his sights on one of the plums of literature, Jane Eyre, and he must be stopped.

How Thursday achieves this and manages to preserve one of the great books of the Western canon makes for delightfully hilarious reading. You do not have to be an English major to be pulled into this story. You'll be rooting for Thursday, Jane, Mr. Rochester--and a familiar ending. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
This is Fforde's (yeah, two "F"s) first published novel and the first one I've read of his, and I think I'm hooked. It's a novel that has characters named Thursday Next and Jack Schitt; where fictional characters become real and the real can step into fictional stories; where there exists Special Police Forces for Literary Detectives, Neighbourly Disputes, Temporal Stability, and other troublesome matters. It's a silly, literary story written with a Douglas Adams twist: science-fiction, fantasy, thriller, and humour that only hose mad about books may appreciate.
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.
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Format:Paperback
I have never been a fan of fantasy or sci-fi, and yet, this was an incredible read. Anybody who has studied literature will find this and the subsequent others absolutely BRILLIANT. It is hilarious: like a bizarre "alice in wonderland" premise where the reader follows Fforde through books - a wild imaginary ride. If you have ever wanted to enter a novel literally - pardon the pun - this novel makes it possible.
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...
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By jrth97
Format:Paperback
As a fan of Jane Eyre, I was looking forward to this book. I found the concept very interesting and delightful. I would love to live in a world where literature held such value.
However, the book was a bit too long. I think he took a while getting to the thick of the story. I don't think there was enough character development, and the villainous characters were almost too hokey to be taken too seriously.
But I was SO UPSET over Fforde's treatment of Jane Eyre. Are we Bronte lovers really supposed to grasp his notion that Charlotte Bronte herself would not have written the ending of Jane Eyre as she had and that a rather unsatisfying ending was her initial intention? Are we really supposed to be satisfied with the turn of the events for Jane and Rochester being brought about the way he described? I didn't find it amusing at all. I found the ending painful to read! It pretty much ruined the rest of the book for me, even though there was much about it that I initially liked. It's like eating a new, delightful dessert, only to get an aftertaste of rotten eggs at the end. If you LOVE Jane Eyre, I would prepare myself before reading this book.
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By A. Ryan
Format:Paperback
Don't bother reading this book if you are A, poorly read in basic English literature and/or B unappreciative of dry wit. Now that we've eliminated the apathetics, here's the review for the rest of us:
The Eyre Affair is a great love letter to the famous English authors of centuries past, notably Shakespeare, Bronte, Austen, Dickens, etc. Well not really - it's a clever alternate universe thriller in which Litratec investigator/enforcer Thursday Next takes on a case involving the kidnapping of some of the most beloved literary characters in British lore. You see, in Thursday's world, the supernatural is very often a natural part of everyday life; vampires and werewolves are regulated by a department very much like Animal Control, time travel -talented individuals are recruited for their services in government branches, and the integrity of national literary treasures is guarded zealously by top secret levels of those branches. I could love to live in this world were it not so chaotic, what with history being constantly tampered with by various factions and all. Even so, it's great fun to visit.
Author Jasper Fforde can be caught using this forum to stage literary debates and in-jokes, much to the delight of the Anglophile readers. In place of religious fanatics coming to one's door proselytizing, you have Baconians whose mission in life is to convince the world that Shakespeare's works were written by Francis Bacon. Fforde demonstrates a very British tendency to use proper names to lampoon a character. His prodigal creation of Thursday Next is an unlikely mixture of reserved-but-courageous traditional British heroines and modern pop culture action stars reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. Fittingly, Ms.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars If You Love Books About Books, This is for You
What an incredibly fun book, and a great first entry into the Thursday Next series!

I am a huge fan of books about books. Read more
Published 19 months ago by adawn
4.0 out of 5 stars The Chuzzlewit Caper?
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 more
Published on Oct. 31 2009 by Dave_42
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving affair
"The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think." This statement just about sums up "The Eyre Affair," a bizarre blend of mystery, fantasy, alternate universe... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2007 by E. A Solinas
2.0 out of 5 stars am I the only one?
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 more
Published on June 18 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars Fluff, but great fluff
There are a lot of funny, UK authors out there. However, there are few that are imaginative and original as Jasper Fforde. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally
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 more
Published on Aug. 22 2004 by Alexandra Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to expectations
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 more
Published on July 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Best
The Eyre Affair is a brilliant masterpiece that ranks up with its counterpart, Jane Eyre, as well as Harry Potter and David Copperfield. Read more
Published on June 26 2004 by S. Gregory
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh Dear.
I bought this book on the strength of the many-starred reviews on it's cover; reviews from the NY review of Books, the Washington post, et al. Read more
Published on June 18 2004
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