Martine's Reviews > The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
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Jan 14, 08

bookshelves: british, modern-fiction, humour, science-fiction, postmodern
Recommended for: English lit buffs, Terry Pratchett fans
Read in December, 2007

Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series is an awful lot of fun for English lit geeks who cherish their classics. It is set in an alternate England where people have cloned dodos for pets, croquet is the national sport, time travelling is a regular part of life and literature enjoys the kind of position that beer, football, cricket and TV have today, meaning that the country eats, drinks and breathes literature. It would be a perfect place to live, if it weren't for the fact that (1) it is run by a rather sinister and megalomaniac company, the Goliath Corporation; (2) the Crimean War is still going strong after 131 years and lots of people are dying; and (3) border skirmishes with the Socialist Republic of Wales are frequent. In this rather interesting world lives Thursday Next, a young literary detective who gets involved in the literary crime of the century: the kidnapping of Jane Eyre, which threatens to rid us of the book for ever. Thursday has her work cut out for her -- not only does she have to enter the world of fiction to liberate Jane (and her own aunt, who has been trapped in a Wordsworth poem), but she also has to eliminate the super villain who kidnapped her, halt the Crimean conflict and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare's plays. Oh, and persuade the man she loves to marry her, for obviously, there is some romance, too.

Fforde is on to a great idea here. His recreation of England is brilliant; if it weren't for the almighty Goliath Corporation, who are running the place in a rather unpleasant manner, I think every bibliophile would want to live there. References to the classics are abundant, as are jokes. As The Independent said, it's a silly book for smart people, combining erudition with accessible humour, ingenuity and quite a bit of charm. English lit fans will eat it up.
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