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Shades of Grey (Shades of Grey, #1)
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November 2013 > Shades of Grey Discussion

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Ellen | 223 comments Let's open the discussion on Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. This is a busy Thanksgiving week, so we may have a timeout in the middle or even end early. I finished reading the book last night.

I found some reading guide questions and will throw the first one out to get the conversation going:

Based on the evidence left behind by "the Previous," what do you think the "Something That Happened" was? Did it cause humankind to lose its ability to see in the dark as well as most of the colors in the spectrum? Or did that occur separately?

Lori (widz) | 55 comments My first thought was that the "Something That Happened" was a nuclear cataclysmic event, or something involving radiation, since there were plants that eat people and other environmental oddities. And I did think that it caused some change to humans genetically so that they lost their color perception.

I had a hard time getting into in this book. It didn't hold my interest enough to look forward to reading it every night, or to want to sit down and get lost in it. I liked the characters, and I think the plot is what put me off. It reminded me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy a little too.

message 3: by N (new) - rated it 3 stars

N (kaxxie) | 25 comments I thought that the "Something That Happened" was maybe that the lid was put on the box, the game was shaken, and all the pieces tumbled about.

message 4: by N (new) - rated it 3 stars

N (kaxxie) | 25 comments I tend to like Jasper Fforde's writing. I appreciate the silliness and the puzzles, and think his work is often thought-provoking and fun. I found this work a little harder to read than the ones with literary allusions, because I was less sure of the allusions and often wondered: is this something I should try and figure out, or should I just be trying to enjoy the ride? I found it harder to get into the world, but then once in I enjoyed it -- right up until the ending, when the discovery that no mysteries would be revealed in this installment made me feel a little, well, cheated.

Lori (widz) | 55 comments Nancy wrote: "I thought that the "Something That Happened" was maybe that the lid was put on the box, the game was shaken, and all the pieces tumbled about."

I like that image, Nancy! It makes more sense to me than mine does.

Ellen | 223 comments I too had a hard time getting into this book, which was disappointing because I expected to really like it based on my reading of The Eyre Affair. I ended up enjoying the witty banter, but that was pretty much it. I found the plot points confusing and of little interest to me, including the "Something That Happened" references.

(I didn't want to start the discussion by saying that I didn't like the book too much, so that question seemed better.)

Ellen | 223 comments Here's a sort of fun question:

If the Caravaggio that Eddie discovers in Rusty Hill is called "Frowny Girl Removing Beardy's Head," how might some of our world's other masterpieces be renamed in Chromatacia?

message 8: by Beth (new)

Beth | 16 comments I enjoyed Shades and it's quirky world. I'm disappointed the second book hasn't been published yet. I wasn't particularly interested in the Something that Happened, but I would like to know more about Munsell and the origins of the rule book.
The apocryphal man was the most intriguing character.

message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth | 16 comments While I was reading the book I saw this story about a Norwegian town that installed heliostats to bring sunlight to the town square:


Ellen | 223 comments You're right, Beth, the apocryphal man was pretty interesting. It was funny the way everyone pretended they couldn't see him, but they really could. I was a bit confused though -- was some of the food he was stealing for the blind people that were being kept in secret?

message 11: by Beth (new)

Beth | 16 comments Yes, Ellen there was someone else in the attic with the apocryphal man. I assume that was a Nightloss or blind person the original swatchman was hiding. Eddie helped this person hide when some authority swept through the house, but he never actually saw him/her.

Ellen | 223 comments Any final thoughts on Shades of Grey? Even if only to chime in and say liked it or didn't like it or couldn't get through it or whatever ...

message 13: by N (new) - rated it 3 stars

N (kaxxie) | 25 comments As time goes by, I find myself recollecting the book with much greater fondness than I would have expected -- so much so that I think I would like to read the second book! I'm not sure why... :)

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