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Thursday Next #1

The Eyre Affair

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Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . .

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . .

Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe.

374 pages, Paperback

First published July 19, 2001

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About the author

Jasper Fforde

38 books11.5k followers
Fforde began his career in the film industry, and for nineteen years held a variety of posts on such movies as Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro and Entrapment. Secretly harbouring a desire to tell his own stories rather than help other people tell their's, Jasper started writing in 1988, and spent eleven years secretly writing novel after novel as he strove to find a style of his own that was a no-mans-land somewhere between the warring factions of Literary and Absurd.

After receiving 76 rejection letters from publishers, Jasper's first novel The Eyre Affair was taken on by Hodder & Stoughton and published in July 2001. Set in 1985 in a world that is similar to our own, but with a few crucial - and bizarre - differences (Wales is a socialist republic, the Crimean War is still ongoing and the most popular pets are home-cloned dodos), The Eyre Affair introduces literary detective named 'Thursday Next'. Thursday's job includes spotting forgeries of Shakespeare's lost plays, mending holes in narrative plot lines, and rescuing characters who have been kidnapped from literary masterpieces.

Luckily for Jasper, the novel garnered dozens of effusive reviews, and received high praise from the press, from booksellers and readers throughout the UK. In the US The Eyre Affair was also an instant hit, entering the New York Times Bestseller List in its first week of publication.

Since then, Jasper has added another six to the Thursday Next series and has also begun a second series that he calls 'Nursery Crime', featuring Jack Spratt of The Nursery Crime Division. In the first book, 'The Big Over Easy', Humpty Dumpty is the victim in a whodunnit, and in the second, 'The Fourth Bear', the Three Bear's connection to Goldilocks disappearance can finally be revealed.

In January 2010 Fforde published 'Shades of Grey', in which a fragmented society struggle to survive in a colour-obsessed post-apocalyptic landscape.

His latest series is for Young Adults and include 'The Last Dragonslayer' (2010), 'Song of the Quarkbeast' (2011) and 'The Eye of Zoltar' (2013). All the books centre around Jennifer Strange, who manages a company of magicians named 'Kazam', and her attempts to keep the noble arts from the clutches of big business and property tycoons.

Jasper's 14th Book, 'Early Riser', a thriller set in a world in which humans have always hibernated, is due out in the UK in August 2018, and in the US in 2019.

Fforde failed his Welsh Nationality Test by erroneously identifying Gavin Henson as a TV chef, but continues to live and work in his adopted nation despite this setback. He has a Welsh wife, two welsh daughters and a welsh dog, who is mad but not because he's Welsh. He has a passion for movies, photographs, and aviation. (Jasper, not the dog)

Series:
* Thursday Next
* Nursery Crime
* Shades of Grey

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,091 reviews
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 59 books230k followers
November 22, 2013
I read this years ago, I think it was back around 2005 or so.

I remember liking the book fairly well, even though I'd never read Jane Eyre, and a modest part of the book's plot touches on that story.

But I also remember being irritated at the book. Something made me bristle when I read it. Some elements of the storytelling rubbed me the wrong way.

I remember talking to the person who recommended the book to me. I held it book up and said, rather disdainfully. "This is probably really popular, isn't it?"

My friend, who worked in a bookstore, said that no, actually, it wasn't all that popular.

And as soon as she said that, I liked the book more.

Thinking back, this memory disturbs me. And not only because it revealed a disturbing tendency towards the bullshit hipster I-only-like-things-nobody-else-likes mindset.

Worse than that, I think it shows that I was getting a bit twisted up inside because of my inability to get my book published.

You see, by the time 2005 rolled around, I'd been working on The Name of the Wind for about 11 years. 3 of those years I'd had an agent, and had been really *really* trying to get published. And it wasn't going so well.

Well... actually that's not true. It was going well because I was on the road to being the published author I am today. But I didn't know that in 2005. Back then, all I knew is that I wasn't published *yet* and because of that, I was getting a little bitter.

Well... to be fair, I was probably more than a little bitter. I was twisted up enough inside that even the perceived success of a book was enough to make it unpalatable to me.

Which is a real shame, because jump forward to now, and I've been listening to the series as an audiobook and enjoying it immensely.

It's well written and quickly paced. There's both humor and wit in ample supply. And the world is a delightfully tounge-in-cheek wish fulfillment alternate earth where the entire populace is passionately engaged in literature. There are museums dedicated to authors, political parties court the Chaucer block of voters, and Baconians go door to door, trying to convert people to their philosophy: namely, that Fredrick Bacon is the man who *actually* penned the plays credited to Shakespeare.

Short version: If you're a recovering English major, or if you're just well read, odds are you're going to enjoy this book. Ditto if you're a writer... provided you're not the sort of twisted up bitter type of writer I was back in 2005.
Profile Image for Jojo.
264 reviews23 followers
September 25, 2007
I had the same feeling after reading this as I had after reading The Looking Glass Wars. Fabulous idea, terrible execution. I was going to give it one more star than I gave that because it's not quite as badly written. And I liked the idea of door-to-door Baconians and Rocky Horrorized Richard III. But I changed my mind because the more I think about it, the more I didn't like it.

It was so smug and cutesy and in need of better editing. And it would have been better served by not being written in first person, especially since it kept slipping into other people's heads when it should have been in Thursday's. Also, Thursday is really boring and doesn't have an interesting voice, and I didn't care about her at all (and, ick, that moment where she gets out her mirror and contemplates her looks). The same goes for most of the other characters. The only one I really liked was Thursday's father, and he barely had anything to do with anything. And the villain! How utterly boring. Villains are only interesting if they're something beyond mwahahaa so evil.

And it was just a mess. So much random crap was going on that seemed to have nothing to do with anything. And I could have lived without the "romance" which was just yawningly boring and tacked on. And the names. Ugh. I wanted to stab my brain out having to read some of those awful names.

Most people seem to adore this book and the rest of the series, but I thought it was pretty terrible. Maybe the writing gets better in later books, but I don't think I'll give them a chance.

Very disappointing.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
742 reviews3,400 followers
May 17, 2020
Hardly an author has styled the parallel universe tropes with breaking the wall elements to such perfection as Ffjorde did.

The integration of living literature in a parallel universe as a plot device is ingenious and a potentially endless source of innuendos, connotations, and options for more and similar novels. Imagine the same with video games, movies, or all mixed and it could get big quick, depending on the main inspiration and idea of the chosen genres and works.

I´ve rarely ever chosen such a comparison, but I would name similarities to Adams, Pratchett, Robbins, and some others because of the humor, character development, and uniqueness. It´s really tricky to get an emotion out of me, but this amazing series did it several times.

It´s an unconventional piece of literature, a true crossover hybrid that dances at many weddings, integrates, steals, persiflages, and makes me wonder why its quality is controversial. I see very much cherrypicking regarding the often average character and plot development of comedy and fast told stories that are necessary and essential for telling such a piece of literature. It smells for me like an aversion against too progressive, unconventional writing style, because I could hardly name a series that had both such a great idea, realization, and universal acclaimed greatness by everyone I recommended it too.

If we start bashing each author who dares to explore completely new land of storytelling without getting artistic, boring, Nobel pricy, and bad, but instead keeps using the rules of the telling game in a brilliant new setting, many ideas will get lost. It shocked me to hear how long it took Ffjorde to get published and I think that many of the reasons for it lie in this grievance, in the tendency to troll true creativity because it´s too unfamiliar and strange to read.

To make it clear: I don´t mean people who just can´t get warm with his writing style, what is a question of taste and personal preferences and completely ok, I am avoiding many genres too.

I am more referring to people who rate very good, but stereotypical and always the same telling as usual high and are against progressive endeavours. Or the extreme other side, who love and read much high brow, so-called literature, that is often trash in my eyes, but bash popular fiction because of its predictability, popularity, and stereotypes or, if this is not the case as in this case, because it´s different. Nothing to talk about in academic circles, but something out of the line they can´t and don´t want to understand.

Both groups are enemies of too progressive authors and it´s quite a shame that they, instead of staying in their own territory and not poaching in foreign lands, try out new things and don´t realize that their problems with the writing could be related to them and their subjective conditioning and thereby aversion and not a fault of an author. It´s so clear if someone interested in character-based, 3 setting novels reads Hard-Sci Fi space operas and vice versa, she/he won´t be happy with it and don´t like it because it´s not their thing, but in this case, the own reading preferences seem to have been forgotten. It´s like listening to music one hates and saying that the artist is bad, etc.

This first part of this series has the only problem of info-dumping and explaining the world a bit too much instead of directly jumping into action, but that´s a widespread issue.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
651 reviews827 followers
March 1, 2020
Really enjoyed the inventiveness of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. The premise of the story is that original manuscripts can be stolen and then changed, not just that manuscript, but all copies of say, Jane Eyre. Thus, these original manuscripts are viewed as absolute treasures. There are also literary portals which intersect with the 'real world' which make it possible to change what happens in our favorite novel. And there's also time travel. And an alternate history which skews how we view this reality about 80 or 90 degrees. In Fforde's novel, our heroine, Thursday Next, tracks down a master criminal, a manuscript and interacts with the characters of Jane Eyre. However, the story unabashedly takes a backseat to literary puns and allusions and simple craziness. The world Fforde has created, a world both obsessed by books and with direct access to books, is a world book lovers will want to live in!

description

Sitting down with Jasper Fforde for fried rice, eggrolls and great discussion during a break at the Casper Humanities Festival!!
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,483 followers
September 21, 2017
This book may describe my perfect job goal: to be able to enter a book and meet the characters, ensuring they are following the author's original intentions and not "on-the-loose" due to some sort of villain. How amazing would that be? Awesome kick start to this series... I read the first 4 then started to get a little disenchanted, but I'll go back one day! All book lovers need to give this first one a chance -- you'll undoubtedly love and hate parts of it!
Profile Image for Danielle.
552 reviews207 followers
June 12, 2008
I've been storing up some venom for this review, so be prepared.
First of all, I want to unleash my fury on whoever in the Rory Gilmore Book Club suggested this book as February's pick. To go from such a brilliant read as Jane Eyre to this was frustrating to say the least. It highlighted all the amateurish contrivances of Fforde's writing. I rolled my eyes so many times in the first four chapters, that I nearly gave myself a headache. And no, I'm sure it doesn't get better after that, that's just where I officially banished the book from my sight.
Here are my major problems with the part I read.
1. Okay, you're enterting this alternate reality world where many things are similar but different from what we know. As Fforde might assume that not all of his readers would be British, or familiar with UK current events/history, perhaps he could have given us a little more to go on, so that the reader could appreciate the weirdness of this other world, without going, "Umm...from the way that's said, I'm assuming that's not how it happened in real life."
2. Thursday Next. Seriously? Thursday Next. That just screams: "I'm writing a strong yet lovably flawed female gumshoe destined to drag you through book after book of literary-themed exploits." Her character was so stereotypical I could have written it with my eyes closed.
3. The time-travelling father.
4. If a book is written in first-person, and you really, REALLY want us to know what the character looks like, it is textbook cliche to have her pull out a mirror and describe what she sees. Puh-lease.
5. Finally, the clincher at the end of chapter four (I think. I wasn't paying all THAT much attention), but the straw that made me put away the book for good is that Fforde CLEVERLY (I felt like the whole of the book was trying just a little too hard to be clever) had Thursday narrate what had happened in her confrontation with her nemesis by putting her in an interrogation setting, where she has to tell the police investigators (and us, conveniently) what happened prior to her month-long coma. Okay, that in and of itself is not so bad, what kills me is when the only difference between what she says into the tape recorder and what she says in her narration of any other part of the book is the double quotation marks. Seriously, no one answers an investigator's question of, "So what happened next," by saying, "'What do you think you're doing?' I said. 'It's time for me to make my exit,' he answered with a smile." People write books like that. They don't talk like that. It was ridiculous.
Anyway, I guess I wouldn't be so annoyed with this book, except that it's supposed to be "delightful" for bibliophiles because it assumes all this familiarity with the classics, yet anyone who had read said classics would inevitably chafe under the obvious inferiority of this freshman attempt.
Profile Image for Cassy.
159 reviews617 followers
October 16, 2014
Have I become a jaded reader? I sometimes catch myself muttering in the middle of a long series of yawns, “Haven’t I read this plot/character/technique before?” Or when the author describes their setting, I will lazily flip through my mental inventory of backdrops until, sure enough, I find an old one that it is a good enough fit to reuse.

Then Fforde comes along and throws the literary equivalent of a bucket of Arctic cold water in my face.

I found myself having to actually work to keep up with his creativity and humor. It was one of those amazing reciprocal relationships where the other party’s enthusiasm spurs you to try harder, which encourages them to go further, which forces you to run faster.

At the same time, I was struck by how nonchalantly he presented the large and potentially confusing differences between our world and his. I also appreciated the attention he gave to the nitty-gritty level of his world. There were details so small that if you blinked, you’d miss them. As a result, I found myself reading each sentence carefully, word for word, and taking the time to create mental images from scratch.

Here are some rough examples of what I’ve come to expect when I read a ho-hum book contrasted with the twists, both small and large, that Fforde introduced.

Example 1
Expected: Her name was Theresa Newton.
Received: Her name was Thursday Next.

Example 2
Expected: Theresa took her dog for a walk.
Received: Thursday took her dodo for a walk.

Example 3
Expected: Theresa boarded the plane for a trip home.
Received: Thursday boarded the airship for a trip home.

Example 4
Expected: Theresa opened the book and sat down for a nice, afternoon read.
Received: Thursday opened her book and fell into its alternate reality for a few months.

Example 5
Expected: Theresa’s dad stopped by the cafe and complained about her mom’s indecision about which color to paint their bedroom.
Received: Thursday’s dad stopped time to appear out of nowhere in the middle of the café and complained about the new shade of red her mother would paint their bedroom in two weeks time, which he saw when he visited the future.

You get the point.

I guess it all goes back to something I mentioned earlier: the reciprocal relationship. There are so many different layers to Fforde’s world-building. And he allows his readers to engage as deeply or superficially as they prefer. If you want to dive in, Fforde has those hidden nuggets for you to enjoy. Or if you want to invest your time just understanding the big points and push past the nuances, you’ll still come away satisfied.

I’d personally recommend the all-in approach.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 28 books13.4k followers
September 24, 2014
This is so much fun. I want to play too! And, as it happens, I have a surprisingly good opening. So, with the usual perfunctory apologies, may I present

The Meyre Affair: a Thursday Next story
The hardest part is telling them they're fictional. After that, the rest is usually easy.

- Thursday Next, A Life in SpecOps
I could start this story at any number of points, but I will choose the moment when I knocked on Manny Rayner's front door. Nothing happened, so I knocked again. He opened it.

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

Profile Image for Cecily.
1,095 reviews3,844 followers
April 9, 2020
Comment from April 2020
I feel bad about this old review. I have now enjoyed a Fforde short story, The Locked Room Mystery, which I gave 4* and reviewed HERE.

Review from August 2010

I didn't enjoy this. It tries too hard to be clever and to cover many different genres (humour, sci fi, horror, detective, literary and more) whilst also being annoyingly silly. After 100 pages I ditched it - something I rarely do.

Thursday Next is a woman who is a literary detective in one of several alternative realities round about now. In hers, the Crimean War is still going. Somehow, in her society, manuscripts are stolen and guns are involved; she also manages to get into books and meet characters in them, though I was never convinced as to why any of it happened.

WHO... WHY...?
I don't understand who this book is written for. You need a love and knowledge of classic literature to know what is our reality and what is an alternative (e.g. whether or not Jane Eyre does marry Rochester), but having those characteristics would seem to me to make one unlikely to enjoy this, though as that is clearly not the case, I am in a minority and evidently missing something.

It has a surprisingly colloquial narrative style for a self-consciously "literary" book; jarring Americanisms (a "parking lot") for a British book; basic grammatical errors (using "flaunt" instead of "flout"); too much exposition is delivered in clichéd ways (e.g. a police interview); ludicrous names (Jack Schitt, Acheron Hades (a baddie), Thursday Next, Victor Analogy, a vampire called Stoker, Edmund Capillary and Landen Park-Laine) and even sillier futuristic inventions (pizza by fax and a 2B pencil with built in spell check).


Anthony Trollope had a penchant for jokey names, but at least he restricted them to minor characters and made up for it in other ways. This book doesn't.
Profile Image for Gail Carriger.
Author 53 books14.8k followers
April 29, 2015
I loved this book when I first picked it up and remember giggling the whole way through. (It was passed over to me by the Mum, of all people. We do not, normally, share the same taste in literature.) It has a charming irreverent take on... well... everything from literature to history. It's set in an alternate reality where literature is, if not kind, at least very very significant.
Profile Image for Carlos.
Author 1 book6 followers
March 19, 2012
Sadly, I found this book to be a major disappointment. I'm huge fan of British comedy and science fiction--Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Dr. Who, Neil Gaiman--and something of an autodidact lit geek, so this novel which promises the exploits of a special agent who has to travel into the novel Jane Eyre in pursuit of a villain sounds right up my alley. So, what went wrong?

Let's start with the world building. While Fforde's alternate universe England is quite inventive, it's also tonally weird. England has been locked in the Crimean War all the way into the present day (circa 1985), with no end in sight, and the government appears to be controlled by a large corporation dubbed (unsubtly) the Goliath Corporation. OK, so this is some sort of dystopia, right? But wait, thanks to cloning, scientists have been able to bring dodos out of extinction, and it turns out that they make great pets! Like, OMG!, is that cute or what? The Eyre Affair may be the only dystopic novel I've read in which the Breads and Circuses are intended as much for the reader as for the regime's subjects. (Oh, if only Big Brother had thought to provide everyone with messenger owls, 1984 could have been a much more amusing novel!)

Second, there's the use of names. As Roger Ebert once said, "Funny names, in general, are a sign of desperation." I'd like to amend that slightly to say, it's really a bad idea for a novel to feature characters whose names are vastly more interesting than their personalities. Heroine Thursday Next gets a pass, as does main baddy Acheron Hades, but I can't think of anything funny about Paige Turner, Victor Analogy or Alexandria Belfridge.

Oh, and let me just say, Acheron Hades' motivation to engage in villainy for no reason because pointless wickedness is the purest form of wickedness? I know it's supposed to make him seem particularly evil, but it just makes him seem arbitrary. I kept expecting the revelation that he was an escapee from a second-rate potboiler.

The biggest failure, though, is how panderingly The Eyre Affair wields its metatextuality. Dead British authors are like celebrities in Fforde's England. People change their names to John Milton out of devotion. Robo-Shakespeares quote the bard from every corner. Surrealists somehow manage to spark riots. (This joins with the whole Crimean War aspect to give the sense that England is terribly stagnant. None of the authors that inspire devotion ever saw the 20th century. And surrealism is controversial enough to spark riots? Really, how very quaint.)

The scene that really put me off, and which should have inspired me to quit the novel, was the performance of a Rocky Horror version of Richard III, after which a couple of the characters discuss how much they love classic literature. There's something a little jarring about seeing a camped up production of Shakespeare held up as an expression of deep love, as if the Thursday Nextiverse (or even Fforde himself) completely misses the point of camp. Does Fforde think people bring cutlery to midnight showings of The Room because they feel Tommy Wiseau is an auteur?

It may be hyperliterate in its use of references, but the effect often feels superficial. In the action revolving around the titular novel, Jane Eyre is reduced to a damsel in distress and Rochester to a straightforward hero, the complex characters I so loved in their original context reduced to cardboard cutouts. Fforde is like a lobotomized Borges, finding ways to dumb down the literature he loves instead of finding new and interesting depths.

So, sorry, just did not enjoy this novel. I have to confess though, if I ever got a hold of one of those devices to travel into literature, you know the first thing I'd do? Carpet bomb Fforde's England with copies of every major modernist and postmodernist work from the last century. I'd like to think I'd be treated as a liberator.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,852 followers
February 10, 2017
Close the prose portal, the worms are about to start hyphenating!

Hey! Everyone! This is a pretty awesome literature nerd's playground. :)

I kinda expected something like a UF first-person mystery novel with magical elements where characters jump out of the pages of books and make a mess of things, or vice-versa, where we jump in and make a hash of a perfectly good story, but I didn't expect the novel to have a lot of complicated character elements in our main characters, a nicely complicated plot that continues to twist and turn through a LOT more than just the Bronte Society or Jane, herself.

And what might be better? Oh, the whole World-Building of the Spec-Ops and the very interesting alternate dimension physics, the whole spy networks associated with missing manuscripts, the Shakespeare Conspiracy, and a (literarily) enormous amount of Lit-Nerd In-Jokes not limited only to conversation, but built right into the world we're thrown into.

So is it fantasy, SF (Come on, plasma beams and jumping dimesions lol), a dream of an Editorial Superman or the Wish Fulfilment of every Writer Who Is Also A Fan? Could be it's all of the above. :)

This is some really cool fun that reads like a mystery turned into a spy novel, full of magical and SF moments, and a huge focus on characters. What's not to love?
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,734 reviews1,201 followers
March 16, 2008
This is a thoroughly delightful and brilliant book. I chuckled and chortled all the way through this book; it’s hilarious. There are many interesting characters and I am eager to read the rest of this series. I’m not sure that the successive books will also get 5 stars from me: the clever premise might get a tad old; I’ll have to see. This unusual story is a bit difficult to define. It fits multiple genres: sci-fi, mystery, humor, fantasy, and fiction. And the author manages to create an entire alternate world, which is something I often enjoy in books when it’s done well, and it’s done exceedingly well here, and with a lot of whimsy. I am now a Jasper Fforde fan: he really pulled off a unique feat in creating this book/series. I suspect I missed some of the references as I have gaps in my knowledge of England and of literature, but I caught enough of the inside jokes to be entertained. I especially enjoyed the portions of the book that were told with Thursday’s voice. (For some reason I kept feeling as though Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone was in Back to the Future. Anyway, it was all a great deal of fun.)

Although I loved the book, I suspect that this book is not for everybody. My guess is that a reader would have had to enjoy at least one book from each of the genres listed above to enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
May 27, 2021
Sale Alert: Kindle Daily deal $1.99 27May2021

Buddy read with the ever amazing Jessica, Evgeny, Catherine, Kristi,, Asya & Tanya and running commentary with oOSarahOo and Ashley who announced they are stalking our thread (not very good at stalking since we know they are there) over at Buddies Books and Baubles

 photo Eyre Affair 1_zpsb94acdgm.jpg

Think about your favorite book…the one you would live in if you could…the one you would never ever get tired of or want leave. Do you have it firmly in your mind??? Now imagine a world where others love books as much as you and they have found a way to travel inside the pages of said book OR pull characters out.

THIS is a world I would love to go to

THIS is a world made amazing by things like:
✘ Cloning kits for extinct species – Thursday has a pet Dodo version 1.2 you know before they started spicing in flamingos and other species.
 photo efd115b1-ed31-485e-b411-d682fa788c4e_zpsbsn1wfbz.jpg
✘ Bad guys who are somewhat similar to HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED - He has powers that are slightly baffling. That’s why we can’t say his name. I call it Rule Number One.” “His name? Why not?” “Because he can hear his own name—even whispered—over a thousand-yard radius, perhaps more. He uses it to sense our presence.”

✘ Genetically sequenced bookworms that have a semi conscience hive mind and eat prepositions and poop out punctuation, more so when they get excited. "they had just digested a recent meal of prepositions and were happily farting out apostrophes and ampersands; the air was heav'y with th'em&"

✘ An uncle with wonderous and magical inventions in his basement lab including a car with a cameleon paint job.
 photo thursdaycar2signed_zps9kfqwvpr.jpg

✘ A world where people don’t talk about what is on the television so much as they debate over who really wrote the works of Shakespeare and there are a good many theories floating around on that one.

✘ Plays that have cult followings like the Rocky Horror Picture show and the audience participates in the entire production.
“When is the winter of our discontent?” “Now,” replied Richard with a cruel smile, “is the winter of our discontent . . .”
“. . . made glorious summer by this son of York,” continued Richard, limping to the side of the stage. On the word “ summer” six hundred people placed sunglasses on and looked up at an imaginary sun.


✘ Thursday also has a father whose face it seems could stop time like literally. - My father had a face that could stop a clock. I don’t mean that he was ugly or anything; it was a phrase the ChronoGuard used to describe someone who had the power to reduce time to an ultraslow trickle.

This book is for book lovers, like serious book lovers. It has a gazillion little play on words, literary references, and random shout outs to books that it was a fantastic treat for me. It would still be pretty enjoyable if you didn’t know a lot about most of the books mentioned but it is a little more fun if you are in on the hidden gems.

The plot really didn’t start happening until the second half of the book but I was having such a good time with all the fantastical gadgets, references and happenings that I didn’t really care.

However I totally enjoyed myself and liked the little bit of romance, chase of the bad guy and trip through the pages of Jane Eyre. I had a great time reading this and much like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy there are a lot of random happenings that end up leading down a path to the plot eventually. It isn’t something I can read everyday but when in the correct mood it is a wonderful adventure.

This book wraps up nicely so that you could just stop the series here or chose to carry on.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,116 reviews1,977 followers
January 19, 2018
Wow! I just did a quick scan of the reviews for this book and they are all over the place from one to five stars. Some people (like me) love it to death, others really hate it and some just sit in the middle. I guess you have to enjoy Fforde's particular sense of humour.

This was a reread for me but the last time I read it was so long ago the book, when I dug it off my shelf, had turned a yellowy brown colour. This in no way damaged my reading experience. I still loved the premise of the book which I know is developed into even greater things in the next few books in the series. Thursday Next is a wonderful character and I have a soft spot for Landon and for Pickwick the Dodo.

There are many literary references throughout the story which I always enjoy. It has been pointed out that it is a major spoiler for anyone who wants to read Jane Eyre which is funny but also a bit true!

Still a five star read for me and now I have read it again I want to carry on and read the rest of them even if they all have yellowy brown pages!
October 4, 2021
And the moral of this rerereread is: one of the most creatively original worlds ever created + delicious literary references galore + being meringued (don't ask) + most heavenly Brit humor/wit/sarcasm combo + bookworms farting apostrophes and ampersands, and belching out capitalisations (I told you not to ask) + a super extra cool, clever as fish kick ass heroine who's a war veteran and dares to be over 35 (the nerve!) + Shakespearean shenanigans + pet dodos + unnotified SpaceTime Flexations + one of the mostest awesomest villainous villains ever (and accompanying odious yet art-loving fiendish compatriots) + Jane Eyre and Rochester and St John Rivers, oh my! + I could be here all day listing all the somewhat very scrumptiously scrumptious details that make this book so bloody shrimping scrumptious but I'll settle for a celebratory dance instead.



Such smooth moves I hath. Pretty amazing, is it not?

And also this, in honor of Our Blessed Lady of the Lobsters (because duh):



👋 To be continued and stuff.

Book 2: Lost in a Good Book ★★★★★
Book 3: The Well of Lost Plots ★★★★★
Book 4: Something Rotten ★★★★★
Book 5: First Among Sequels ★★★★
Book 6: One of Our Thursdays is Missing ★★★
Book 7: The Woman Who Died a Lot ★★★★
Book 8: Dark Reading Matter - to be published



[June 2013]

(I think I was slightly very high on superior quality stuff when I wrote that supremely crappy bit about being disappointed by this book ↓)

I read the Eyre Affair when it was first published but decided to read the whole series again before burying myself in its last instalment, The Woman Who Died a Lot.

I have to say that reading this for the second time I was actually quite disappointed. The story is as original as I remembered it but the book isn’t as fast-paced as it was in my memory. Still, I love the world Fforde has created. Ingenious to the very last detail, clever and full of literary twists. A very enjoyable read!
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 343 books397k followers
November 8, 2013
This has been sitting on the shelf for a while, and I finally got around to it. I’m glad I did. A wacky alternate reality tale for literature buffs, The Eyre Affair introduces LiteraTec detective Thursday Next, who must prevent a madman from kidnapping Jane Eyre out of her novel and destroying Charlotte Bronte’s work. Dodos for pets, vampire hunters, hot air balloon transports, time travel, Baconian extremists . . . This book is a wild, eccentric ride. If you liked The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
773 reviews554 followers
September 11, 2019
3.5★

This book did sound so up my alley and I'm a bit worried because it is a very busy book , so maybe it wasn't the right book to start in a very active holiday. I'm hoping my rating is fair.

I found it very hard to get into the start -as I said busy. It reminded me of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts but the style was much colder - I just couldn't warm to any of the characters at all. That did make it a struggle for me to keep going with the read.

However, Every time I would consider giving up there would be another witticism

“I was in '78 recently," he announced. "I brought you this."
He handed me a single by the Beatles. I didn't recognize the title.
"Didn't they split in '70?"
"Not always. How are things?”


or some lines that were laugh out loud funny;
"Can't we wait for the Chronoguard?"
"They'd never get here in time. It's easy. A lobotomised monkey could do it."
"And where are we going to get a lobotomised monkey at this time of night"


The wild and uncertain tone of the book improved for me at around 64% - although I didn't really like the ending.

So it was a real mixed bag and I may have to read another Fforde to decide if I like his style or not.



A bonus review!
3.5★
https://www.theguardian.com/books/200...

Read December 2018

The Locked Room Mystery

I spent a lot more time trying to find a place to post this review than I did reading this short, short story.

Light, frothy & fun. I doubt I will remember anything about it in a week.

This doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading it (I did) or that I won't try something else by Fforde (I will)

And, in fact, I did!



https://wordpress.com/view/carolshess...
Profile Image for Krista.
70 reviews
February 2, 2008
(Violence alert: The body count is high, plus some grossness factor.)
It’s a spy thriller. No, wait — it’s science fiction. No, wait — it’s literary criticism. No, wait — it’s art history. No, wait — it’s historical-political commentary. No, wait — it’s romantic comedy. No, wait — it’s an epic war drama. No, wait — it’s — oh, look — Japanese tourists!

While I applaud the spirit of many of the directions this novel takes, you kind of have to wonder if the author could have focused just a tad bit more...

So here’s the interesting aspect of this novel: Fforde envisions an alternate reality in which wars are (literally) waged over ideas, a fantasy in which literature and art are at the center of people’s daily concerns. In one incidental moment, the main character turns on the TV in her hotel room; a news reporter is reporting on riots that broke out while Neoclassicists were protesting the 10-year anniversary of the legalization of Surrealism.

Eventually (three-quarters of the way through the novel), the main event occurs: an English professor gone bad kidnaps Jane Eyre from page 100-something of the original manuscript, erasing the text of the remaining pages from all copies of the book and causing millions of Jane Eyre fans to come out of the woodwork and hold weepy candlelight vigils.

Our heroine, LiteraTec (literary detective) Thursday Next, must restore Jane to her rightful place in the novel, keep the evil villian away from Miss Eyre, and supervise the plot from inside the book as the book "rewrites" itself. Things go awry, of course, and the original manuscript is compromised — but with felicitous consequences for Miss Eyre, Mr. Rochester, and Jane Eyre fans everywhere.

Of course, the author of a book like this must hope to capitalize on a pre-existing Jane Eyre fan base...but the danger in writing derivative literary fiction is that, while your book may be a perfectly good book in many ways, you are putting your reader in mind of really great literature, next to which your book is doomed to lose by comparison. And as the plot of Jane Eyre droned on from Thursday Next's perspective, I couldn’t help thinking, "I’d rather be reading Jane Eyre."

The final twist in the love story is, I have to admit, cute — but not cute enough for me to recommend the book, at least not to someone exactly like me. However, if a heavy dose of violence doesn’t make you queasy and you can hold on for a roller-coaster ride of genre-bending twists and turns, you might enjoy the cleverness of it.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,781 followers
December 11, 2017
I wanted to like it, it sounded like a good idea, but I didn't.
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Okay, I've tried to read this three times before and could never get into it. My wife liked it and so did several others I know so....got the audio this time and I'll try again.

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I can't say I like this book. As noted before I have tried at least 3 times to read it because some of it's fans are so thrilled with it that I keep having it recommended. There are books that are like that for me, books that I just can't fathom someone not liking. But it happens.

As I said I don't really like this book...but I like much of it. I'd describe it as a good idea wrapped in convoluted story telling occasionally pushing simplistic ideas while interweaving a potentially interesting narrative replete with humor that runs the gamut from very funny to groaningly bad.

So....If you can stand the long slow parts where Jasper Fforde indulges his urge to evangelize for his questionable political insight and handle the interludes of interaction that gives us familial relations and the abbreviated romance (and I'm so glad it was abbreviated as an added long involved romance would have finished me and I'd have put the book aside again) as you get through to the plot and characters you might enjoy this book...or like me enjoy part of it.

Of course to be fair many probably REALLY like the very parts of the novel that had me ripping my hair out (and I can't afford to lose any more hair). Some I'm sure will be rolling on the floor laughing at what had me rolling my eyes. So...this one splits the vote for me. Try it yourself. Some of it, the main idea, the approach I find very enjoyable. Some parts I find yawningly and (as noted before) groaningly slow.

Will I try another Thursday Next novel???? I don't know yet. As always I'm pretty backed up on "to read" books but again I have friends who assure me I'll like some of the later ones better! So, I'll probably try at least one (since I finally got through this one).

Maybe some of your reviews will decide me? Anyway try this one yourself...it's really a matter of personal taste....really.
Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 12 books1,262 followers
October 20, 2007
(The much longer full review can be found at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].)

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the literary genre known as "speculative" fiction; for those not familiar with it, the genre primarily concerns itself with historical questions of "what if?" What if the South had won the Civil War, for example, or the Nazis World War II? What if computers, robots and nuclear weapons had been invented in the 1840s instead of the 1940s? It is a great genre for those intrigued by the issues raised in science-fiction, but who do not care for the more hard-edged fetishes of that particular genre (the spaceships, the lasers, the aliens); because ultimately speculative fiction relies a lot more on real history and sociology for its ultimate entertainment value than most traditional sci-fi, making it a good place to regularly find big crossover hits.

One such hit, for example, has turned out to be the delightful 2002 speculative novel The Eyre Affair, by the Douglas-Adamsesque Jasper Fforde; it has in fact inspired an entire series of popular novels since then set in the same speculative universe, collectively known as the "Thursday Next" series because of its main protagonist. The latest, First Among Sequels, just came out this summer; I've heard a lot of great things about all the books in the series, so thought I'd start at the beginning and finally experience them for myself. And man, what a speculative world this turns out to be -- it is an entire alternate Earth that Fforde creates, in fact, one much like ours in many ways but with there also being telling differences. Like...

--In Fforde's world, Russia never had a Soviet revolution, and is still run by the Tsarist royal family;

--As a result, England and Russia have been fighting the Crimean War for 131 years now, the entire thing turning into a Vietnam-like unwinnable mess that neither side can politically walk away from anymore;

--As a result of that, England in Fforde's world never reaches Empire status, with among the results being a fiercely independent and antagonistic Republic of Wales, as well as a virtual police state in England itself, put in place by an all-consuming private corporation called Goliath;

--It is in some respects a book nerd's dream world, a world where obscure Victorian authors are considered rock stars, and the argument over whether Shakespeare really existed or not one that spills over into street gangs and organized religions;

--And it is also a world where several topics we consider "supernatural" are to them very real and even blase -- a world that has perfected cloning, a world where time travel is an accepted reality (if not a highly controlled activity), with a series of secret government divisions in charge of regulating and policing the various industries involved.

We as the readers, then...
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,465 reviews927 followers
April 26, 2015
This is not a noir style detective story set in a big city underworld. This is a fun romp set in a Thatcherless Britain complete with time travel, genetically resurrected dodo birds, a Crimeean War that has been going on for more than 100 years, huge zeppelins instead of planes, crazy inventor uncles and lost in time fathers, street gangs made of bookclub members fighting for the good name of their favorite author, costume opera archenemies and about 30 secret police organizations. One of them is in charge of literary forgeries and our heroine is an agent curiously named Thursday Next, a spunky thirty something specializing in 19th century novels, sport cars, guns, pet dodos and piano playing.
The plot is more like a spoof of crime genre where the bad guy has dark designs on the characters from Jane Eyre novels and one of the most pressing questions of the day is who really wrote Shakespeare's plays.

I'm looking forward to the next Next adventure.
Profile Image for Melindam.
607 reviews253 followers
March 18, 2021
It feels weird that this has been a favourite series of mine since the beginnings and despite several re-reads, I never got round to write a review about it.

Or maybe it isn't weird at all, considering this is a book by Jasper Fforde, The Great Genre-Bender.

I also understand that this book can be a dream or a nightmare come true of a literary nerd, depending on your POV.

I still remember the day I got this as a birthday present. It was a truly happy day. Thank You, Alan, for thinking me crazy enough to appreciate this to the full and boy, did I just do that!

Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 64 books16.8k followers
October 25, 2019
This was a fun book set in a very unique and quirky world. It's definitely a mad-cap type book that you can't add any logic to - just take things as they are and go with it! I did feel like I needed to have read more of the classics to get some of the jokes. I never liked the classics and am probably the only person in the world who hasn't read Jane Eyre. Now I don't need to read the book - and I like Fforde's ending for Jane much better in this book!
Profile Image for Mimi.
691 reviews187 followers
November 2, 2018
The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think; a bit like a frozen lake. Hundreds of people can walk across it, but then one evening a thin spot develops and someone falls through; the hole is frozen over by the following morning.

In theory, this book is the prefect fit for me and is almost exactly what I look for in urban fantasy--a good mix of sci-fi and fantasy, alternate universe, time travel, a world that heavily features books, plenty of pop and lit references, plenty of book puns, wry humor.

Thursday Next--will always make me wince--is a British operative whose task is to preserve books, mainly the British classics. Nothing is said about literary works outside of Great Britain, so... Anyhow, Thursday Next--*wincing internally*--gets temporarily assigned to a black ops team to assist in a sensitive, pressing matter concerning a literary terrorist who's out to destroy British classics unless his demands are met. 

Thursday Next--*still wincing*--and a few other operatives chase down this menace and somehow they end up rewriting the ending to Jane Eyre with the help of Mr Rochester. How they get there and how they rewrite Jane Eyre is very clever. I applaud Jasper Fforde for his creativity for working it into the plot because it explains so much about that ending. Unfortunately, by the time I got to this point, I'd lost too much interest in the story to care.

This book definitely missed the mark for me. Although the plot and setting were fine, I found the characters, main and supporting alike, wooden and needlessly tiresome and unnecessarily wordy--there were so many words, so many unnecessary explain-y words. It definitely didn't help that all the characters tried so hard to be clever and quippy and full of witty comebacks. That got tiring after a scene or two, and so I couldn't work up enough energy to care about any of them and thus spent much of the read counting how many pages were left.

I think my biggest obstacle in this book was the main character herself. Thursday Next--*wincing forever*--felt like a female character written by a male author, which is exactly what she is. I'm only stating the obvious because I couldn't not forget that she's a female character written by a male author all the way through the book. I vaguely recall several instances in which she tried imo too hard to appear as though she's particularly female and it came across as unnatural. I can't really point to an exact scene or moment now though. It was more a vague, general sense I got from her thoughts and narration that she's trying too hard to appear a certain way, as though she's working too hard to be convincing.

The writing in general is fine, but again, I got the sense it was trying too hard to appear a certainly way. I think its aim must've been for witty and punny, but instead, it came off as forced and heavy-handed. And it felt especially heavy at several key points in the story which should have been fast-paced and action-packed. Instead, these moments dragged on--and on and on and on and on. So for me, reaching the end felt like a real triumph because I didn't think this book would ever end.

* * * * *

Even though I finished it only a couple of weeks ago, I'm having trouble recalling much of the plot and characters. They're all fine, I suppose, but easy to forget.

While I can see why this book is a hit with fans of Brit lit (all those puns), the only thing that still stands out to me is the way in which the ending of Jane Eyre is explained and worked into the plot. That was clever and unexpected. Everything else though? Meh.



Originally posted at https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...
Profile Image for Sfdreams.
130 reviews43 followers
June 9, 2008
I resisted reading this book for quite awhile, but thankfully, my friend Lisa (LisaVegan), kept bugging me about it! I thought that I would not appreciate it as I have never read Jane Eyre. But, Lisa is right, you do not have to know anything about Jane Eyre to understand this book.

I am thankful to Lisa, and to Goodreads, because I probably would have never stumbled upon this delightful book otherwise, as I rarely visit the SF shelves at the library.

I only found one annoyance while reading--"their" is used at one point where it should have been "there". (p. 272 in my copy) That there was only this one annoyance is rather good, as I am finding more and more misspelled and misused words nowadays. (I blame computer spell-check!)

This book is full of tongue-in-cheek references (characters named Braxton Hicks, Runcible Spoon,and Mycroft for example.) The book also takes place in an alternate universe where the Crimean War is still being fought, and there are special operatives such as the Chrono-guard and the Literary Detectives as well as others. It is definitely a fun read!


Two of my favorite parts (that are NOT spoilers):

1. The first is the scene where two of the main characters, Thursday Next and Landon Parke-Laine attend a showing of the play of Richard III that is reminiscent of Rocky Horror Picture Show with the audience shouting lines at the actors. (Example: the audience shouts "When is the winter of our discontent?" just before the actor playing Richard intones "Now is the winter of our discontent.")

2. The second part that I enjoyed immensely is a chapter heading (for chapter 20) that purportedly is an excerpt from an article written by Mycroft Next in the New Splicer magazine:
"...Several people have asked me where I find the large quantity of prepositions that I need to keep my Bookworms fit and well. The answer is, of course, that I use omitted prepositions, of which, when mixed with dropped definite articles make a nourishing food. There are a superabundance of these in the English language. Journey's End, for instance, has one omitted preposition and two definite articles: the end of the journey. There are many other examples, too, such as bedside (the side of the bed) and streetcorner (the corner of the street), and so forth. If I run short I head to my local newspapers, where omitted prepositions can be found in The Toad's headlines every day. As for the worm's waste products, these are chiefly composed of apostrophes--something that is becoming a problem--I saw a notice yesterday that read: Cauliflower's, three shilling's each..."

This particularly gave me a laugh, as I feel that the bookworms must be active in our world as well--I have been much perturbed at the frequent usage of misplaced apostrophes.

There are many more parts of the book that are noteworthy. This is a very fun read, and I look forward to reading the next books in the series, as well as his nursery rhyme series.

Profile Image for BrokenTune.
748 reviews200 followers
November 7, 2015
"Somehow ‘Fucked up’ made it seem more believable; we all make mistakes at some time in our lives, some more than others. It is only when the cost is counted in human lives that people really take notice."

This book was a recommendation that arose from a discussion about a non-fiction book about extinction. I have a slight obsession with dodos and had to read The Eyre Affair because of it.

"I had been with Boswell and SO-27 for eight years, living in a Maida Vale apartment with Pickwick, a regenerated pet dodo left over from the days when reverse extinction was all the rage and you could buy home cloning kits over the counter."


And, yes, I want one.

"I used the time to get up to date with some reading, filing, mending the car, and also – because of the new legislation – to register Pickwick as a pet rather than a wild dodo. I took him to the town hall where a veterinary inspector studied the once-extinct bird very carefully. Pickwick stared back forlornly, as he, in common with most pets, didn’t fancy the vet much. ‘Plock-plock,’ said Pickwick nervously as the inspector expertly clipped the large brass ring around his ankle."


However, inconceivable as it may sound, there is much more to enjoy in this book, because as it turned out, this is not a book about dodos, but about a world in which time travel is possible and - hold on to your hats - where it is possible to enter books and physically meet characters. With great power, comes great responsibility, and there even is a special police unit that deals with works of literature - and the misuse and mistreatment of manuscripts and characters.

And why would you think such a unit is required? Because some villain might take it into his mind to hold the world at ransom and kidnap a beloved character. So, this is where our heroine, Thursday Next, comes in to save the world from the destruction of literature and life as we love it.

It is shocking and distressing to even think about such villainy, so best to soothe the mind with another quotation about the adorable Pickwick:

"I left Chester’s owner and the official arguing together and took Pickwick for a waddle in the park. I let him off the lead and he chased a few pigeons before fraternising with some feral dodos who were cooling their feet in the pond. They splashed excitedly and made quiet plock plock noises to one another until it was time to go home." >
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 6 books2,016 followers
October 31, 2016
What fun! An alternate history universe where people are so invested in literature as to fight over it, such as the damn Baconians saying he wrote Shakespeare's plays when it's obvious that he couldn't have (Thursday cogently argues this at one point.) & whole societies devoted to various authors. There are no planes, just 'gas bags', but there are cars & guns. Other things vary, such as Wales is a separate Communist state & the Crimean War is over a century old & still going strong. England also has quite a number of Special Branches keeping the peace.

Our heroine, Thursday Next, is a member of Special Branch #27 for literature. She's self-effacing, has an extraordinarily complicated personal life, a pet dodo (version 1.2), a father on the run from the Chrono cops, & a slightly mad inventor for an uncle. (The dodo complicates her life very little.) She's veteran of Crimea & was a cop for a while, so when Acheron Hades starts threatening literature, she's tenacious in tracking him down & setting things back to rights despite all.

If you're familiar with Jane Eyre, you might think you'll know what happens. Well, you'll have a clue, but it probably won't happen the way you think. I chuckled often as the plot twisted wonderfully. Very well written & read. I'm planning on listening to another soon. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,855 reviews1,891 followers
January 25, 2012
Rating: 3* of five

The Book Report: Thursday Next, middle aged and middling happy, lives for her job defending the Prose Portal, the gateway between reality and fiction. All novels, all stories in fact, are real, and the universe where they are fact is accessible from Swindon.

Swindon? The British Peoria?

Things only get madder from there, with Thursday leaving her beloved dodo Pickwick to follow miscreants into Jane Eyre...no, the real one, where during the unwritten entr'actes the characters eat and fart and sleep...to prevent her beloved Uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal from...naaah, read it yourself, you'd never believe me.

My Review: Silly, fun, frothy, and in no way a serious alternative history. Far too absurd a premise for that. Fun nonetheless...I love the People's Republic of Wales! Fforde can't possibly be called a fine writer, but has a gift for turning a pun.
Profile Image for Kerrin .
276 reviews234 followers
May 8, 2020
I am not sure if I am in a funk from all the Covid-19 stay at home orders, but I had difficulty reading this book. I started it 4 weeks ago and finally finished today. So was me, or was the book just not that great? A bit of both I suppose.

This book is a tongue-in-cheek mystery novel. At times instead of finding it witty, I found it juvenile. The character's names were just over the top: Thursday Next (the female protagonist), Braxton Hicks, Jack Schitt, Bowden Cable, Paige Turner, Victor Anthology, etc. The plot took place in 1985 but in a futuristic setting, where dodos were common pets, time travel was possible, and people could enter into books, and book characters could come to life. The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than people realize. Literary detectives, known as the LiteraTecs, investigate crimes involving novels. Yet, with all the imaginative technology, Thursday Next and her other operatives still use pagers and faxes to communicate.

By the last half of the novel, I was able to overcome my prejudices and my lack of good humor, and I finally settled down to finish the book. The story was imaginative and poked a lot of fun at literature snobs. Thursday Next pursues the evil Acheron Hades who is stealing characters from novels. She is thwarted by Jack Schitt of the Goliath Corporation, which controls all of England. England is still engulfed in the Crimean War, which Goliath Corporation encourages because war is a good money maker. There are plenty of hijinx, villains, the occasional vampire, and literal bookworms to add action. While Thursday is kicking evil butt, she is also torn over her love for her former fiance, Landon Parke-Laine. With all of this going on the book is part mystery, part fantasy, and part romance. I guess I just wasn't in the proper mood for this type of adventure.

The book was first published in England in 2001 and in the US in 2002. Jasper Fforde wrote a total of seven Thursday Next novels. I didn't love this one enough to go any further with the series.
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