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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > SHADES OF GREY: finished reading (*SPOILERS!*)

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message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Here's a general topic for those who have finished reading Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde.

Caution: Spoilers highly likely!


message 2: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
I'll start out with a couple comments.

First off, one of the things I really enjoy about Fforde is his writing style--it's disarmingly simple. I love the way he puts words together, very clever at times. His work usually has a number of laugh out loud moments for me.

And that brings me to one of the things that struck me about this book. The world in Shades of Grey is dystopian and there are some appalling things happening. Fforde's writing style, so simple and light, seems disconnected from what he's actually writing about. To me, it works to make things even more appalling, but I can see where some readers might be very put off by that. What do the rest of you think about that contrast between style and subject?


message 3: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) It wasn't the contrast that annoyed me. It was the characters. They were so blank and flat. Maybe this was intentional - blank characters in a world controlled by color, but it is what put me off the book.


message 4: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2240 comments Mod
I noticed that contrast, Kathi, and I also appreciated it.

One thing really struck me about the ending. Jane and Eddie had managed to wrap their minds around the fact that the "rules" of their society were ridiculous, outdated, and useless...then when it turned out that they were complementary colors they both unquestioningly gave up on their romance! I was surprised by this and wonder if it will be tackled in the sequel...


message 5: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "It wasn't the contrast that annoyed me. It was the characters."

I agree, Chris. In my opinion, Fforde never writes really strong characters, but it was more apparent in this book than in his Thursday Next series (plus the fact that they were color-coded in this book made it even more obvious.)


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) Prescisely Stefan. And I couldn't figure out if it was intentional because of the subject matter.


message 7: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
I guess I saw the world as kind of a coloring book and the characters, for the most part, fit that. Jane was less that way and she didn't fit very well, and Eddie was developing some perspective/depth throughout the story.

The complementary colors taboo for couples seemed to be about the strongest taboo in a culture full of them. That was strongly indoctrinated, like close incest would be in much of our society. I was not surprised they could not (immediately) overcome it but rather, would have been shocked if they would have. And remember, they only knew each other a few days--the whole book took less than a week, I think.

I'm also not sure that Eddie, or even Jane, fully comprehend the enormity of the task they have taken on. They have dared to question and even defy, but can they really dismantle this society? And replace it with what? I guess that's why there will be more books than this one in the series.


message 8: by Jane (new)

Jane (hippygoth66) | 101 comments Though I haven't finished yet I thought you might be interested to hear a comment by the author about the book. My husband is a big fan (he bought us teaspoons and got them stamped with our postcodes). He went to a talk by the author back in February and he described the world in the book as being how Eton (English Public School - which means Private in the UK for american readers)would be run by the Khmer Rouge.


message 9: by Marty (new)

Marty (martyjm) | 310 comments I finished it. I enjoyed reading it but hated the ending and the darkness and would not read the next one unless I start running out of reading....which seems unlikely.


message 10: by Michelle (new)

 Michelle (varmint3) | 34 comments Kathi wrote: "I'll start out with a couple comments.

First off, one of the things I really enjoy about Fforde is his writing style--it's disarmingly simple. I love the way he puts words together, very clever a..."


I enjoyed the contrast between the subject and the style very much. The characters were not terribly "deep" but I was entertained enough by the world and the writing that it didn't bother me too much.

Shel - I'm not entirely sure they have *really* given up - but the results were announced very publicly and they are being secretive about the extent of their rebellion so they seemed to me to be going along with the norms publicly. I borrowed the book from the library & have already returned it, so I can't put my finger on the passage that suggested that to me. I do hope that impression is borne out in the next book!


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia It took some concentration to get into it & I might have given up if I hadn't already read some of the Thursday Next books. But I enjoyed it over all & love Fforde's sense of humor, but agree that the ending left much to be desired. I'm sure he left us hanging & wondering on purpose, but I would rather have had a bit more of a satisfying ending.


message 12: by MB (What she read) (last edited Jul 13, 2011 04:41PM) (new)

MB (What she read) For some reason, I enjoyed this book more than I have any of Fforde's other series. For a couple of reasons maybe. 1) The incredibly creative world. 2) The colors--having taken lots of college art classes, the way he used color theory in his novel was funny and I 'got the joke', I guess. That makes me feel good. 3) I kept being remind of P.G. Wodehouse.

Jane, your comment of Eton as run by Khmer Rouge makes sense. I like that.

It also makes me think of the scenes in Good Omens where the business group is at a Corporate retreat playing paintball as a team-building (?!) exercise when the guns become real guns. It's that same contrast of dark and light humor. The humor might be a little lite Tom Sharpeish as well?

I'm looking forward to the sequel. I want to see where he takes this.


message 13: by Shanshad (new)

Shanshad Whelan | 28 comments Read this some time ago and honestly found myself turned off by it. Perhaps its just that the combination of Fforde's style and dystopian setting just chilled me. A little too much as it turns out. I don't think I'll be reading the next one. Though who knows. I'll wait until the thing's completely written and then decide. Sort of like what I'm doing for Martin.


message 14: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
Shanshad wrote: "Read this some time ago and honestly found myself turned off by it. Perhaps its just that the combination of Fforde's style and dystopian setting just chilled me."

I agree with the contrast between the author's style and the setting/plot. But I think that highlighted the awful absurdity of things and was very effective... chilling, weird, but effective.


message 15: by Shanshad (new)

Shanshad Whelan | 28 comments Just not my cup of tea, I guess. But then I tend to be a character reader, and I didn't like any of the characters.


message 16: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) This book grew on me as I went through. I did think that the simplistic style of the a dystopian story was effective and I really marvelled at the creativity of the world that Fforde created. I did get annoyed at the lack of depth for some of the characters but I didn't mind the ending and I will probably read the next installment.

I had only read the first Thursday Next book and while I thought it was really clever, I never ended up reading any of the rest of the series.


message 17: by Maggie (last edited Jul 28, 2011 11:58AM) (new)

Maggie K | 298 comments I think that the lack of depth in the town characters was done on purpose, as was the humorous style within a dystopian society. Accentuates how 'off' the system they were blindly using really was.


message 18: by Carly (new)

Carly Svamvour (faganlady) | 33 comments Did I hear sequel mentioned? Didn't know there was a sequel.

I believe I read one of the Thursday Next novels and got a kick out of it.

I liked this one and have become a true Jasper Fforde fan.

I'll go looking for more.


message 19: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 2240 comments Mod
It hasn't been published yet, but will be sometime next year. He mentioned it when I saw him speak a few months ago after the publication of One of Our Thursdays Is Missing :)


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