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. 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...
Published 4 months ago by adawn
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting premise, but too slow
The book operates on an interesting premise: in the alternate universe where it is set, literature is a popular pastime. Not only that, but there is a whole police section whose only task is investigating crimes of a literary nature. It is in that section that the literate, intelligent and sometimes touchingly vulnerable Thursday Next operates. She finds herself on the...
Published on Mar 29 2004 by Liloo
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4.0 out of 5 stars If You Love Books About Books, This is for You,
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving affair,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of �The Eyre Affair� by Jasper Fforde,
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:
Hahahaha! Then there's some dialogue like:
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.
2.0 out of 5 stars am I the only one?,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars My inner English Major has found a new favourite...,
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...
4.0 out of 5 stars Fluff, but great fluff,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally,
2.0 out of 5 stars Am I the only one defensive about what he did with Eyre?,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to expectations,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Eyre Affair (Hardcover)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 regardless. As an older fan of Harry Potter, I recently went to the bookstore in search of a good read to help ease the wait of Book 6, sadly enough. "The Eyre Affair" and Fforde's second book, "Lost in a Good Book," both had "Harry Potter for adults..." printed somewhere inside. That's all the information I needed. And even though I have yet to finish "The Eyre Affair," I can't wait to continue on in the world of 'Thursday Next.' I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys escapist writing. And no, the book is in no way a rip off of Harry Potter. True, the comparison caught my eye, but Fforde has created something beyond original. 5 stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sci fi, not quite parody, but fun all the way,
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. Next's interesting life seems to parallel Jane's a little more closely than coincidence.
If there is one flaw in this book, it's that the reader is thrown into an alternate universe in which we are playing a lot of catch up thoughout the plot. This sometimes had the side effect of distracting me and sometimes it contributed to the humor. Perhaps the author should have included a prologue chapter which summarized the necessary backstory, but overall TEA is worth sticking to nonetheless.
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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (School & Library Binding - Feb 2003)
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