Book Review: ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde

Posted on February 21, 2011

This is not like any book you have ever read; an English Major’s wet dream.

Imagine a world where the Crimean War has been going on for 150 years, you can get shivved for believing that Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare and that tears in the fabric of time are a real and constant danger. Actually, give up trying because Jasper Fforde’s breakout novel (2001), ‘The Eyre Affair‘, will take you to the brink of you imagination in a way that is extremely hard to describe.

‘The Eyre Affair’ follows Thursday Next as she pursues a criminal of profound wickedness, Archeron Hades, after things get a little personal. Her uncle has found a way to bridge the gap between ‘reality’ and a work of fiction. If you go into an original manuscript and pull out a character, or change anything, it will alter every copy of that work in existence.

Hades first alters a minor character in a Dickens novel, but finally gets his hands on the original manuscript of ‘Jane Eyre’ and goes after the eponymous character.

This all sounds comical, but Hades is downright evil. His body count is nearing 100. He can’t be killed with bullets, and can read your mind. In fact, most people are often found having been killed with their own guns, Hades convincing them to hand them over. His powers are so profound that if you even utter his name within a thousand yards of him, he can locate you.

Next has been promoted in SpecOps (dedicated to pursuing all sorts of literary malfeasance) and has teamed up with Jack Schitt (hahahaha) of the Goliath Corporation, which all but runs Britain. She must go covertly into the People’s Republic of Wales to return her nation’s pride to its rightful place.

I have read the phrase ‘defies genre’ thousands of times, but this is the first time I have read something that truly lives up to that moniker. This book is at times tongue in cheek but also deadly series. It’s universe is both absurd but convincing. The movie ‘Brazil’ has a very similar tone, but even then it is something else.

At its core is Thursday Next, a veteran of the Crimean War who watched her brother die, who later disgraced as a cockup by the media and her lover. She’s 36 and single, living only with Pickwick, her genetically engineered Dodo. She’s awkward, but good at her job.

This is an extraordinary book and it is one of a kind. For you English majors out there who are looking for something to geek out about or if you are interested in a novel who can be creative without sacrificing plot or readability, then pick the ‘Eyre Affair‘.

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2 Responses to “Book Review: ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde”

  1. Bill Edminster on February 21st, 2011 5:49 pm

    Jasper Fforde is going to be doing a US book tour for the sixth title in the Thursday Next series next month. He’s a favorite writer of mine and I enjoy hearing him on tour. He’s inventive in person as well as on the page.

  2. Heath on February 21st, 2011 5:50 pm

    Awesome. Do you have a link for this? If he comes by my area (DC metro) I’m def. going to go see him.

    Will I be seeing you at alum. weekend this year?

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