Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair
Jasper Fforde

There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where Thursday Next is a literary detective without equal, fear, or boyfriend. Thursday is on the trail of the villainous Acheron Hades who has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. Jane Eyre herself has been plucked from the novel of the same name, and Thursday must find a way into the book to repair the damage.

She also has to find time to halt the Crimean conflict, persuade the man she loves to marry her, rescue her aunt from inside a Wordsworth poem and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays. Aided and abetted by a cast of characters that includes her time-travelling father, Jack Schitt of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, a pet dodo named Pickwick and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday embarks on an adventure that will take your breath away.

Penguin Books


Rosy's scrawlings on The Eyre Affair
Finally, I've reached a book that instead of being lent out and lost has been lent to me and sneakily kept. I could buy another copy and send this one back but I believe there's no hurry as I think he forgot he lent it to me. Not any more though, I believe. I'm now wondering if I'll get a little reminder. This book was one I found on a friend's shelf. As is usually my way, I entered their home and went to the bookshelf to see what was new and interesting (I can tell as I do this during every visit). There I found a copy of The Eyre Affair with a much blander cover but with the blurb above. The blurb was all it took but my friend also said it was a must. So I 'borrowed' it. Really, I did intend to bring it back but, well, I kind of got attached to the story...
When I was young, one of my personally selected children's books was Jane Eyre. I was also interested in fantasy and horror by that stage too, some very dark. You can see why I was interested in The Eyre Affair even though this book is of a lighter nature than most fantasy books or horror I tend to read. This book brought with it, in a big way, a love of fantasy comedy and bright fantasy adventures.
Reading The Eyre Affair is a little like reading Alice in Wonderland as from the outset life is a little strange but soon you find that being a literary detective involves actually travelling into stories and making sure they follow the preferred story line. Escaping characters must be stopped, relationships must be conducted properly and stories must end as desired. Of course, what was, is and will be don't necessarily follow the stories as you currently know them. Reading The Eyre Affair is much like falling down the rabbit hole of literature: imaginations within imaginations.
Thursday Next fights fires, chases bad guys, tumbles through books and cares for her pet dodo. She's the new Jane Eyre while Jane's away and has to do her best to ensure the story continues to exist, hopefully with the same sort of plot and development as it had had before Jane's kidnapping. Thursday Next is an older, wiser and tougher Alice who's mostly, not always, in control of what's happening within Wonderland of the written word.
If you've read any other Jasper Fforde books you are probably familiar with his styles. What's notable about this series is just how many strange ideas and traditional concepts he melds together to form the adventures of Thursday Next. This book and the ones that follow are for those who love tangents, odd and twisted plot lines and wild combinations of ideas. In fantasy, this series has established a new form of sub-genre, one I hope to see continue and broaden. There is a world within the written world. And as every avid fan of a book series will like to do, realising characters and stories is brilliant fun. Within The Eyre Affair  some well known and much loved characters are dusted off and given new, playful dimensions.

I'd recommend this book to: anyone who love grand flights of fancy, believing literary figures to be real, the classics and brilliantly bright fantasy.

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