The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: Book Review

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Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair, first of the Thursday Next series, a wonderfully outrageous, extremely entertaining, innovative and hilarious novel. I loved every sentence and every chapter and the whole book (just to state the obvious). I’ve never read anything quite like it because Fforde has created a world that spins our world on its head – and it’s truly magnificent. I’m hitting myself for not reading this sooner. It’s been on my reading list ever since I read Fforde’s Shades of Grey, which is another #1-of-the-series novel I’d definitely recommend. In that Fforde’s creative storytelling and world building was fantastic to read, and that is also definitely the case with The Eyre Affair.

As it’s likely you don’t know much about this book I’ll give you a little summary of it so you get an idea of just how awesome it is. Our main character is a thirty-something year old Thursday Next, a courageous, literature-loving woman who works as a Literary Detective of Special Operations-27. You see, the book is set in an alternative 1985, where Literature is taken extremely seriously and such criminals such as Acheron Hades decides to kidnap fictional characters from books, including Jane Eyre. So Thursday Next has a lot to deal with in The Eyre Affair, from saving Jane Eyre, discussing who really wrote the Shakespeare plays to, of course, trying to sort out her own romantic happy ending – all while the Crimean war is still happening. All sounds pretty brilliant right?

And it is. It really is. Thursday is a fantastic heroine you can’t help but root for, and all the other characters in the novel are great, whether they’re evil, or geniuses, or really funny, or just plain likeable. There really isn’t anything to fault about any of them. The plot is really exciting and never gets boring. It did take me a moment when I first started reading it to grasp the world Fforde has created, but not too long as he’s done a really great job in the fact that it’s often convincing, but also so completely outrageous that you begin not to care whether it’s believable or not. I mean, Fforde breaks a lot of rules, and that’s half the fun of it.

I really enjoyed the part Jane Eyre played in it, especially as it’s one of my favourite classics. Fforde really played with the novel in a comic and respectful way and I loved the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) we (through Thursday) actually get to meet Rochester. All the other references to literature, particularly Shakespeare, were great, too. I really liked how much emphasis is put on literature in this novel and in the world Fforde has built. It’s truly great and in some ways I wish it was more that way in reality.

Really, this is just a magical book. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to read something different and original and fun. It will not disappoint. I know I probably say that about all the books I read and love, but I really, really mean it with this one. It was a very, very satisfactory read and I’m so keen to see where Thursday’s adventures in the Literary world go next.

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