5.0 out of 5 stars My inner English Major has found a new favourite...
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...
Published on Feb. 22 2005 by Happy "hooker"
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 March 29 2004 by Liloo
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Review Of �The Eyre Affair� by Jasper Fforde,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars My inner English Major has found a new favourite...,
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...
2.0 out of 5 stars Am I the only one defensive about what he did with Eyre?,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite sci fi, not quite parody, but fun all the way,
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. 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.
The Eyre Affair is a great find, and I look forward to other tales from this adorably messy universe.
-Andrea, aka Merribelle
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. The style is so clever, the wordplay genius, the plot terrifying, captivating, and original. With wit and originality, Jasper Fforde was able to create a surreal yesterday.
The story follows Thursday Next, who lives in a 1980's England with a regenerated dodo (without wings) and works as a LiteraTec (one who helps to maintain books, particularly old manuscripts of novels/plays by Chalres Dickens and Shakespeare) in SpecOps (divided into thirty or so divisions, it is more or less the police force). She is a thirty-something veterean from the Crimea War, an ongoing battle between England and Russia, who had lost her brother in that war, and something more. Living in a world where time travel is possible (her father was in ChronoGuard, a SpecOps division, and is now rogue, bouncing throughout time to visit Thursday every once in a while), mammoths migrate, and werewolfs hunt down vampires, Thursday also has to deal with the antagonist, Acheron Hades.
An unprincipled villian, Hades nabs Thursday's uncle and aunt, steals the original Martin Chuzzlewhit manuscript, and, with Thursday's uncle's help, kills a minor character in that novel. Insistent upon wreaking havoc simply because he can, Hades then decides to kill Jane Eyre herself, completely remove her from the original manuscript, and thus from every copy of the book worldwide. It is up to Thursday to stop him.
This book has something for everyone. Scifi and fantasy, mystery, romance, and some portions of history, the writing and creativity makes this book a must have. The story begins by simply thrusting you into the world, so you have to continue with it for a few chapters, and not make your decision after the first two pages. A captivating read and particularly well-researched on the Jane Eyre parts.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Wonderland,
Jasper Fforde has taken elements from a wide range of literary genres and combined them to take you on a trip that your English Professor never knew. You name it, he dipped into it, time travel, historical, crime drama, romance, but most especially satire.
Thursday Next is the tough but vulnerable female protaganist in the story working the London LiteraTec office. After an almost deadly encounter with an old acquaintance, Acheron Hades (the 3rd most wanted villian in England when he's not presumed dead), the ride starts and doesn't slow down until the (possibly) happy ending. With Thursday's father a rogue agent from the time corp, events like happy endings can change without notice.
Wrap yourself tightly in your suspension of disbelief and be prepared to march the brain cells around to remember the details of great classic books and historical events.
Well written, characters with depth to them and a plot full of enough twists to be a 3 pipe problem for Sherlock Holmes. No, he doesn't appear this time but I'm sure Mr. Fforde has other Thursday Next adventures to share with us and I'm looking forward to them.
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing,
Imagine if Raymond Chandler melded with Douglas Adams to produce a sci-fi hardball detective mystery replete with literary references, and you'd have something like The Eyre Affair. The book takes place in a strange version of 1980's England, where the Crimean war has been going on for over hundred years, where Baconians knock on your door to try to convert you to their view of Shakespearean authorship, where a special operations squad exists explicitly to investigate literary crimes, and where the Chronoguard has the ability to travel through time. The novel follows the adventures of Thursday Next, a LiteraTech who is caught up in the hunt for arch criminal Acheron Hades, who is determined to abduct and ransom fictional characters, notably Jane Eyre. The book is not at all academic in tone; it reads like a fast, enjoyable work of popular fiction, but you have to be well read to appreciate it. If you are familiar with the English classics you will have a good sense of what is transpiring, and you will be able to pick up on various clues and enjoy the "inside" literary jokes.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!,
Anyone with a love and appreciation of the written word will adore this book. I remember when it first arrived in the US in 2002. I thought it was such a wild concept and wasn't sure if I'd be ready to enter the unusual world Jasper Fforde had created. So I passed it by. But it stayed with me, and finally, two years later I took the plunge into "The Eyre Affair." And now I've been bitten, smitten, and totally swept away into Thursday Next's world. It's fantastic and filled with colorful characters - from the strong yet vulnerable Thursday Next herself, aptly named a female version of Dirty Harry, to Thursday's wonderful time-traveling dad, her mad-inventor uncle and mischievious aunt, her long-lost love, her pet dodo Pickwick, her fantastic car, her crazy co-workers at Spec-Ops (and watch out for those evil villains) and all of the rest of the people in this unusual surreal version of 1985 England. "Jane Eyre" fans will especially love the chance to "book-jump" with Thursday into Miss Eyre's novel and meet the wonderful characters of THAT world. Rochester! Sigh! Yes, it's all here, folks! Adventure, mystery, car chases, time traveling, romance, Shakespearean interactive theatre, conspiracies, vampires, kidnappings, daring heroics, and satisfying endings. Enjoy the ride!
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good,
The reviews I read, the book's description, was intriguing but, I just didn't know if I'd like this. So I picked it up, "The Eyre Affair", and WOW what a great tale! What a really different approach but what an entertaining read! I couldn't put it down. Jasper Fforde has put the fun back into reading and does it with style. If you like mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, or fiction of any kind you'll love the Thursday Next series. If you've read Jane Eyre, you may think that Mr. Fforde has some things wrong at first but patience dear reader, it all becomes clear near the end. I could tell you what the story is about much like my fellow reviewers but truth be known, you won't really appreciate how good it really is til you've read it yourself. I like the description on the book's cover, "Harry Potter for Adults" It is very much like Harry Potter but then not. You could make many comparisons here, but never get it quite right. Fforde has blazed a new tale, and deserves the credit for his discovery of a new fictional territory.
5.0 out of 5 stars Science Fiction/Fantasy Literary Satire and Love Story,
This review is from: The Eyre Affair (Hardcover)
Thursday Next has been working on Shakespeare-related literary crimes in London as a Special Operative when she's summoned into a special assignment with a highly classified outfit. It all relates to a run-in she had with a professor while in college. The assignment leaves her literally flat on her back, and after recuperating she's off to return to her hometown to face her past and her future. She's been trying to escape from both since her unit was decimated in a terrible lost skirmish in the Crimea during which her brother was lost, and her relations with the love of her life were terminated.
While there, important manuscripts begin disappearing in unexplained ways and she finds herself in the middle of the investigations. Helped by unexpected interventions from outside this time and dimension, she makes steady progress towards protecting Dickens and Bronte from unpopular bowlderizations.
Talk about crossing genres. Mr. Jasper Fforde literally wrote the book on this subject with The Eyre Affair.
I became interested in this book after reading and being delighted by the brilliant third book in the series, The Well of Lost Plots. Although both books can be easily understood as stand-alone efforts, you will probably be more thrilled by The Well of Lost Plots if you sneak up on it by reading the other two books first.
Ultimately, these books most appeal to those who love literature as readers . . . and for whom classic characters seem like old trusted friends. Those who like science fiction, fantasy, mysteries and adventure stories will be much less pleased. Those aspects are icing on the cake rather than the cake.
To me, The Eyre Affair seems like a literary update and enhancement of Alice in Wonderland with Thursday Next as Alice.
The Britain you will read about in this book differs substantially from the current one. Although the reason is never stated, I inferred that this one that has been influenced by time travelers to the detriment of Britain. The Crimean War has been going on since the 19th century between Britain and Imperial Russia. Wales is not part of Britain and is a people's republic that is not sympathetic to Britain. Literary debates are more important than political ones. Britain has succumbed to the military-industrial complex in ways that are usually ascribed to the U.S.A. Much technology is primitive (such as air travel by dirigibles) while other technology is very advanced (time travel, cloning of extinct animals as pets, and dimension shifting).
Although the book obviously involves Jane Eyre, please realize that the connection is perhaps slighter than the title suggests. The overall themes of the book involve the classic struggles between the light forces of good and the dark forces of evil, against a backdrop of unrequited love.
The satire is layered on with a heavy hand. The names give you a sense of this. One character is named Braxton Hicks . . . and he's just a little jumpy!! One of the villains has a name that will make you chuckle every time you read it. The overall effect is a lot like Voltaire's Candide and occasionally has an element of Rabelais.
Regardless of any temporary drawbacks in the book to your preferences as a reader, the charming moments will easily carry you forward wondering what marvelous writing innovation next awaits you.
Plan to read this one in one sitting. It's hard to put down.
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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (School & Library Binding - Feb. 2003)
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