Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Imagine a world where crazed fans battle over whether Shakespeare really wrote those plays or where the removal of a minor character from a classic book is a national crisis. Thursday Next is a Literary Tech in England in 1985 and her job is to protect books. She faces some complex personal issues such as whether she should forgive the man she loves, Landen Parke-Laine, for telling the truth about her brother during the war. This is the ongoing war, in its 131st year, between England and Russia over the Crimean Peninsula. She faces some incredible issues in hunting down Acheron Hades and battling the Goliath Corporation. Here she has told Landen that she is too busy to go out with him.
“I could see he didn’t believe me. I couldn’t really tell him I was on the trail of a master criminal who could steal thoughts and project images at will; who was invisible on film and could murder and laugh as he did so.” (pg 118)

This book is a crazy mix of fiction, science fiction, action thriller, and a whole new genre where books are at the center of life. The science fiction part is well done and interesting. For example, Thursday’s uncle invents a car that can change color and even become invisible using liquid crystal technology. This is just one of many of his inventions and another, the Prose Portal, becomes important to Acheron as well as the Goliath Corporation, and potentially devastating to literature everywhere. The Eyre mentioned in the title refers to the book Jane Eyre. The characters in Jane Eyre become endangered characters in this book.

This is the first in a series of books with Thursday Next as the protagonist. I enjoyed reading this book with its many convolutions and look forward to the second in the series, Lost in a Good Book. I wonder if the author can continue to invent such outrageous scenarios. I did think that some of the characters in this book spoke in clich├ęs, especially Acheron, and whether this was on purpose by the author or not, it did not help develop them as characters. The action also slowed down dramatically at the end of the book.

1 comment:

Jen said...

It's a fun series of light reads - as a lit nerd I really enjoy the references to other books (some more well known than others) sprinkled throughout the series.

I heard that Fforde has also written a couple of kids' books but I haven't had a chance to check those out yet.