le 25 juin 2015
I struggle to believe this is meant for adults and I seriously doubt young people would find it amusing.
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le 11 janvier 2013
What an incredibly fun book, and a great first entry into the Thursday Next series!
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.
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le 31 octobre 2009
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 title as any. "The Eyre Affair" is Jasper Fforde's first novel, which was published in July of 2001. Fforde creates an alternate world, with many similarities to go with some glaring differences, keeping the reader off-balance, yet strangely at home at the same time. Combining alternate reality, with spy thriller, with mystery, with some literary classics, this unusual book makes for a most unique and enjoyable experience. As I have not, as of yet, read any of the sequels in the series, I cannot speak for how well it holds up, but I can easily recommend this one.
The setting of this novel is in a world very much like our own, but with some bizarre twists. In no particular order, this would include recreating Dodos and cloning them for pets, never-ending discussions about who wrote Shakespeare's plays (of course this happens in our world, but not to this extent), Wales as a socialist republic, and an ongoing Crimean War. Our heroine is Thursday Next, a Literary Detective (SO-27) one of 30 departments of Special Operations to handle various areas of police work. The top 20 departments are restricted, i.e. they are known to exist, but only in a few cases do people know what they actually do.
In addition to the alternate reality, there is an unusual family and personal life to deal with. Thursday's father was a Colonel in the ChronoGuard, but had turned rogue and is being chased by his former colleagues. He has a habit of dropping in on Thursday and halting time when he does so. Her uncle likes to invent things, including a device which allows people to enter works of literature (this has happened accidentally to some people, including Thursday, but this allows the person to pick the time and the place). Her brother, like Thursday, was in the Crimean War, but unlike her, he was killed. The man she loves, Landon Parke-Laine, who gave testimony which led to her brother being blamed for a mistake which caused a tremendous loss of life during an important battle.
Thursday is temporarily assigned to SO-5 to deal with a super-criminal, Acheron Hades, a man she had the misfortune to meet many years ago, and she is one of the few to have ever seen him in person. He is known to have special powers, including the ability to avoid being seen on camera, and he is able to confuse even Special Operations agents to the point where he is able to escape, usually after killing the agent whose trust he has gained. Thursday has been called in because Acheron is believed to have stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit. The story follows Thursday as she follows, sometimes officially, sometimes unofficially, Hades and it takes her through time paradoxes, kidnappings, government bureaucracy, the war and peace movements, and of course into Jane Eyre
With all the strange inventions, and odd plotlines, it was somewhat disappointing that the end was rather predictable, but it was still very fun to read. Thursday and her family make for wonderful characters, and Hades was a great villain. Many of the other characters are somewhat two-dimensional, but one needs a few normal people to play against. This novel is far from perfect, but if you are in the mood for some crazy adventure and have run out of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, this is one you may want to give a try.
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"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 novel, satire, and a dash of horror and scifi. With its likeable heroine and delightful plot, this is one that bibliophiles will drool over. It's sort of as if Terry Pratchett wrote mysteries.
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. A lot of readers probably won't understand all of the literary jokes and in-jokes (it sounds snobby, but if you don't get something then just skip it), as well as some that anybody can understand, like the invention of the banana. The idea of high art as pop culture is delightfully done, like the guy with the "Hand of God" tattoo, or the door-to-door Baconian missionaries, or a John Milton convention. Take a sprinkling of real-life pop culture, make it art-inclined, and that's what you get.
One of the best things about this book is that it overflows with promise for sequels in this universe. Time travel, a chilling scene with a lisping vampire, lycanthropy vaccines, and the wealth of literature are all dealt with, but not so thoroughly that it can't be used again. The writing style is spare and fast-moving, sort of like Terry Pratchett's but more detailed. The dialogue is very good, with a lot of good quotables.
Thursday Next is a likable female lead, very hard-boiled, tough and smart, but with a vulnerable side. Uncle Mycroft is just delightful, mad as pants! Acheron Hades is one of those villains who loves evil for its own sake (well, with a name like "Hades," what can you expect?), and people who like a complex reason for a person to be bad won't like him. "I'm just... well, differently moralled, that's all."
Jasper Fforde's first novel is a slightly frothy, book-hopping, tongue-in-cheek novel. It may not be a work of literature equal to "Jane Eyre," but it's a supremely entertaining and promising one.
le 4 janvier 2006
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.
le 18 juin 2005
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. I found it mildly entertaining and inoffensive but really had to force myself to finish it. The twists of the story didn't feel all that inevitable, at times a bit forced, and as a result the book felt somewhat haphazard. Some parts of it was developped fairly compellingly, others were a little random which wears on the reader's attention. The language was also nothing special, unfocused, it honestly felt a bit amateurish in that department.
le 22 février 2005
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...
le 6 décembre 2004
There are a lot of funny, UK authors out there. However, there are few that are imaginative and original as Jasper Fforde. The Eyre Affair is an excellent, fun ride that brings out the best parts of a cop novel and a humourous/slice o' life kind of book. Fforde's protagonist, Thursday Next, is a witty, strong character that is easy to like and even though Fforde's setting, a 1985 England with time travel and airships, is confusing at first, before long you are fully in the story and fully with Next on her adventure. A great read!
le 22 août 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). How refreshing it is to encounter an author who presupposes the intelligence of the reader and succeeds in making the impossible rather plausible. Falling into the pages of this book is like encountering beloved old friends in new and unexpected places as Mr Quaverley, Rochester, Wordsworth, Jane Eyre and a host of others find themselves threaded into the plot. Mad Baconians, casual vampires, interactive productions of Richard III...it all makes complete sense in the world of the heroine, Thursday Next. One can only imagine how delightful it must be to possess a mind as elegantly agile as Jasper Fforde's.
le 12 juillet 2004
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.