Links For Book Lovers
I don't review books I don't
*****= An all-time favorite
= Above average
= Good, with reservations
*****The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde
Reviewed November 18, 2004.
Viking, New York, 2002. (Originally published in Great Britain
in 2001.) 374 pages.
Available at Ramstein Library.
Available as a selection of USAFE Libraries’ Book Club in a Box.
Sembach Library has the second, third, and fourth of Jasper Fforde’s
books about literary detective Thursday Next. I had almost decided
to read them when my friend Shannon recommended the first book to me.
After that, I discovered that Ramstein Library had the first book, so I
requested the book from them.
I’m going to cheat and quote Shannon’s description, which convinced
me I simply had to read the book. Shannon said: “It defies
summarization, but I’ll try: Thursday Next, a Literary Detective
in 1985 (think Orwell’s 1984) England solves crimes involving
society’s favorite currency: literature. The story begins when
she’s enlisted to help capture a dread opponent who steals the original
manuscript of Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit. Using stolen
technology, he enters the novel and murders a minor character! Then
he attempts the ultimate attention-seeking crime: the murder of Jane Eyre. Oh, and time travel is commonplace,
as is reverse extinction, or cloning, as the most common and popular pet
is the dodo. England has been at war with Russia in the Crimea for
about 100 years; there’s a People’s Republic of Wales; she meets a fellow
detective who hunts werewolves and vampires; and there’s a bit of a love
story involved as well. It’s scifi-fantasy-mystery-romance-fiction.
And very funny to boot.”
As she says, it’s hard to classify this book. I lean a little
toward “Adventure,” since there are thriller-like aspects to it, but I
think I’ll probably go with “Science Fiction,” since the basic background
is an alternate-reality England and a central part of the story is being
able to enter books, but this is presented as a scientific invention, not
There’s all kinds of clever stuff in this book. Thursday’s father
is a former member of the ChronoGuard gone rogue. He can only stay
in one time for five minutes or the ChronoGuard will catch up with him.
His visits bring paradoxes and humorous bits of changing history.
I love the way the society revolves around books. Thursday goes
to a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III with cast chosen from the
audience and members of the audience calling out lines. England has
been at war for more than 100 years, and members of the Giant Corporation
brag that the war has brought technology they use every day. Yet they
have no television or movies, which explains the culture’s fascination with
This book was wonderful, and I’ll be reading the rest of the books
in the series as fast as I can get my hands on them.
Reviews of other books by Jasper Fforde:
Lost in a Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots
One of Our Thursdays Is Missing
The Big Over Easy
The Fourth Bear
Shades of Grey
The Last Dragonslayer
The Song of the Quarkbeast
The Eye of Zoltar
Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.