Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Once upon a time I was skimming a book entitled Book Lust that is composed of lists of book recommendations for every mood, taste, and moment, all compiled by librarian Nancy Pearl. One book that stood out because she comments on it several times was Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.

The book itself inspired mixed emotions. It was well-executed with all kinds of intrigue, literary crime on a level that only a fantasy author could come up with, and even a sort of suspenseful romantic byline because no author worth his or her salt can write a story that doesn't involve somebody falling for/being hurt by/sleeping with someone else. The cynic in me likes the "original" ending to Jane Eyre that Fforde concocts, but the cynic is locked in the pantry most of the time so its opinions are practically moot.

Once upon a time, Acheron Hades built a reputation for himself as one of the most thoroughly evil men in the world. Well, whether he's completely human is anybody's guess, but the book doesn't worry itself too much with that. Place aforementioned unscrupulous man in a world where literature is so important that it actually has its own crime division in Special Ops and the fabric separating fiction and reality gets rent or even downright shredded... You get some pretty fantastic highjinks.

The plot was great, everything I could possibly want from a fantasy novel. I suppose where my mixed emotions come in was in a lack of connection with the heroine, SpecOps agent Thursday Next. She has a lot of drive and gumption, but not a very textured personality, so she ends up being a bit like a pit bull. It might be funny to watch him chase every stick you throw, but eventually you get a little bored and he's never going to stand on two legs and recite Othello, so the relationship is rather limited.

Liked it, not loved it, may read some more Fforde in order to see what else he comes up with.


Christopher said...

Thursday Next is a great name for a heroine. Have you actually read Jane Eyre? It is currently winning the prize for book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for the longest amount of time.

Brent Waggoner said...

I own this book, but I'm putting off reading it because I haven't read Jane Eyre.

Amanda said...

The second one in the series is better than the first, but I haven't read beyond that yet.

Christy said...

I have read Jane Eyre and liked it quite a bit, although I prefer the works of the other two Bronte sisters. So it's worth the time to read it, especially because it is well known and fairly well-liked, but I wouldn't feel guilty about skipping over it for so long.

I did pick up a different Thursday book before I found that one, so perhaps I shall have to revisit the library. I think I can handle a sequel :)

linda said...

I actually really liked Jane Eyre! Definitely one of those "books we should have read in high school" worth pulling off the shelf. I also somewhat enjoyed The Eyre Affair. I think I wanted it to be better than it was. Such a great premise, but these meta- books or books about books are often so hard to pull off.