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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(1 star).Show all reviews
on June 18, 2004
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.
I'm still waiting for the 'verve', 'quirky charm' and 'clever wordplay' to emerge. Admittedly, the premise is clever; the alternate universe with details such as the Hyperbookworms, ChronoGuards and the biblio-centric society well thought out, but the prose is pedestrian in the extreme (as one other reviewer wrote, it's of the 'I did this, the he did that.....' style). And the witty word play? A character named Jack Schitt? Not funny the first time, and after the two-hundredth mention of Mr. Schitt, I felt like screaming. (I did giggle at a few of the names though, like 'Millon De Floss', but it's hardly subtle is it?)
So, excellent ideas, shame about the writing. I should mention that I did finish it - and will probably take the rest of the series out on loan from the library.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2004
I stumbled upon "Well of Lost Plots" at a bookstore, and it looked intriguing. I wanted to read the series from the beginning, so I waited (and waited) for "The Eyre Affair" at the library. I was expecting something witty, intelligent, and fun. I found it shallow, predictable, and too clever for its own good.
First, a confession-- I'm not a fan of mysteries. That said, I love Edna Buchanan's Britt Montero and Peter Hoeg's Smilla Jasperson not because of their cases (I read "Smilla's Sense of Snow" 3 times, and I still had to watch the movie to figure out who the killer was), but because they're complex and interesting.
Thursday Next is predictable, dull, and very one-dimensional. Fforde explains her family, losses (romantic and otherwise), and traumas, but doesn't do a single thing to make the reader care about them.
The book has caricatures, not characters. Thursday is a The Tortured Detective Who Lives For Her Job. She's also Almost 40, Single, and Lonely. Her family consists of Bratty Brother Who Became An Upstanding Citizen, Brother Who Died Tragically, Bitter Mother, Father With A Mysterious Job, Shrewish Aunt, and Brilliant Uncle Whose Invention Imperils His Loved Ones. She's injured while fighting Pure Evil and His Minions. On assignment in The Hometown She Tried Desperately To Escape, she gets a Quirky But Valuable Partner. In a pub, she encounters The Ex She Still Has Feelings For. And so on.
Even though I *hated* "Jane Eyre", I loved the literary references. Anyone who paid attention in British Literature (or any high-school Lit class) will get them. I found the self-aware "Jane Eyre" characters interesting. And I liked the idea of a society that values literature over all else. But the book seemed too self-conscious. When I encountered some things (like the character Jack Schitt), I could see Fforde saying "Ha! I'm so clever!" It's as if being clever overrode all attempts at character development. Cleverness is fine, but it only goes so far.
The book also has some puzzling plot holes. She spends 38 years in a temporal anomaly, yet she doesn't age? Nobody outside aged either?
In short, this book was a massive disappointment. I might read "Jane Eyre" again, but I'll leave Thursday Next alone.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2003
I bought a copy of this volume under the (as it turns out, false) impression that it would provide me with some level of entertainment, a mindless nugget between one thing and another.
Let me assure you that it is, indeed, mindless. While full marks must go to Mr. Fforde for the admittedly excellent premise (evil overlord wreaks havoc by stealing classic manuscripts and transporting himself into their pages, more or less) and for actually getting the thing published, be warned that it has nothing whatsoever to do with sly winks, "postmodernism played out as raw, howling farce" or, indeed, story or narrative.
The antagonist, Thursday Next (a dull play on words, along with most of the other characters, notably Jack Schitt) is completely devoid of character and personality, with a contrived background that would make even the most toad-like of Hollywood hacks wince. Nothing ever really happens in the story - it simply plays out as a jumble of clichéd encounters and undergraduate references to some of the most boring/obscure pieces of literature on the planet, a hodgepodge of puerile jokes formulated by an author with far too many volumes of reference on his shelves, and not nearly enough books.
The very thought that I wasted a day reading this rubbish sets my teeth on edge. Only hip posers whose literary backgrounds began and ended when they were forced to read 'Catcher In The Rye' in year nine and now figure that they know everything and can go back to bleaching their hair and learning to roll cigarettes.
If the core of the book appeals to you - ostensibly wacky adventures of a private investigator in an ostensibly wacky parallel universe - you'd do far better to read either of Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently books. If you already have, then it's time to move on, because you won't find a shadow of those masterpieces here.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2003
I really don't know why I finished this book. The charcters were as stupid as their names. Jane Eyre wasn't introduced until there was only 100 pages left. I hated the fact that they took classic books and 'changed' them. If "Jane Eyre" had such a [weak] ending, why was it considered such a classic?
I don't know how to get across that I hated this book and only finished it to see how Eyre even fit in. The last 2 or 3 chapters were the worse. Next pretty much saves the world and gets what she wants. Imagine that! The entire time I was reading this book and couldn't help thinking a 12 year old must have written it. The language was as [bad] as the plot.
Anyway- I guess it just wasn't my style. I hope this is never made into a movie as it would not make any sense on the screen.
I will try not to let it out to anyone I know that I actually read this book.
Now to read a real classic!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2002
This book cashes in on one of the greatest books of all time without aspiring to be even literate. The book is one huge, smug, pretentious cliche that hopes that discussing greate literature is the same thing as creating it. This book is subpar and a waste of time.
Lovers of Jane Eyre should avoid this book like the plague. The author's bio says that he "arranges words on a page." This is a very apt description for he is certainly not "writing." Fforde should return to his day job and stop wasting paper. Trees are precious.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2004
I wouldn't have even finished this book had it not been that I was reading it for my book club. It just didn't appeal to me and many of the supposedly "witty" things were just plain stupid. I didn't find this book appealing at all. It could be an interesting concept, but the author fails to carry it through with any sort of wit or class. Hasn't the time travel plot aka. "Back to the Future" been done and done and done before?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2002
Cliché-riddled writing and derivative characters trapped in a mildly-original though poorly-executed narrative. I never believed in protagonist Thursday Next, I never believed in the novel's universe. Contrary to other reviewers, this book is NOT Douglas Adams, NOT Jonathan Lethem, NOT Monty Python, NOT Stephen Hawking, NOT gripping, NOT witty, and certainly NOT Bronte. AVOID.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2002
This book is just too weird, too descriptive with uninteresting wordiness, too bizaar for my taste, too far-fetched. I like a credible tale. This book has NO credibility, whatsoever!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2003
Jasper Fforde's terrible writing, unrealistic characters, and lack of ability to write with emotional appeal sadly, butchered the interesting and unique idea for The Eyre Affair. I really did like the original idea-Thursday Next, LiterTec far in the future fighting to stop literary crimes. The idea is cool but the book was terrible!
I read this entire 600-page book without ever knowing any of the characters, despite the numerous internal monologues, because Fforde betrayed them so many times! One minute, Thursday is one thing, and the next minute, she is completely changed for no reason! I have never experienced more poorly constructed and shallow characters in m life. Even the "good" characters held no convictions for longer than ten minutes. Amelia Bedelia is deeper than the characters of The Eyre Affair!
Jasper Fforde made some really bad writing choices. He used cusswords at strange moments that made his characters sound like complete, literal crack heads. An example of Fforde's bad sense of humor is an annoying characters being named Jack Schitt.
This book didn't have any of the elements that define a good book in my opinion. A good book should not only be for entertainment but should contain a universal message of idea that makes the book actually serve a purpose. Books are meant to inspire, instruct, and teach people things about themselves and about the world around them. This book has nothing useful. It was like an inane sit-com on TV. There was also no emotional appeal to the book whatsoever. Fforde didn't make the reader care at all what happened to his characters. This book was, seemingly, written for pure dumb, mindless entertainment, and, for that reason, gets one star!
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