Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fforde
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: The Special Operations Network was instigated to handle policing duties considered either too unusual or too specialized to be tackled by the regular force.

This review was previously posted on my personal blog on August 27, 2007.

Thursday Next works as a LiteraTec in Special Ops. She’s a specialist in literary crimes. In the world of Thursday, the Brits take literature very, very seriously. Fans of various poets have formed competing factions, people arguing the true authorship of Shakespeare’s plays get into physical altercations, and prosecution of plagiarism is taken to a new level. Thursday gets embroiled in a plot that involves a murder of a Dickens character, the kidnapping of Jane Eyre herself, and an arch-enemy that is part human, part something else.

I loved this book! I have read several reviews, and it seems to be a book that people either love or hate. I enjoyed it very much, and I will definitely be reading the rest of the Thursday Next series.

I don’t quite know how to describe this book. There are so many literary and historical references that I was constantly on Wikipedia, checking to see if I was missing something. The cover says something about a mixture of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Steven Hawking, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There’s also a scene where some characters attend a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III that rivals the rowdiest midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. That kind of sums it up. Kind of.

It took me a few chapters to get hooked, but once I was, I couldn’t put it down. Two beefs: the ending wrapped up a little too quickly, leaving me a bit jet-lagged; and this book made me woefully aware of the depth of my literary ignorance.

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12 Responses to Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

  1. Kailana says:

    I enjoy this series, but I tend to read it very slow!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kelly – I’ve only read the first two – and it’s been ages. I should probably re-read them before I continue, as I’m sure I’ve forgotten everything!

  2. Sheila (Book Journey)
    Twitter: bookjourney
    says:

    OOH – I love literary references! It makes me feel like I am in on some secret or that I have a secret decoder ring!!!! I am looking into this one!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sheila – it is fun to read a book like this because when you recognize a reference, you get that “zing” of familiarity!

  3. Michelle says:

    I adored this book. I have not read the latest two books because I haven’t heard great things about it, but I do love Fforde’s literary references and quirky humor.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Michelle – he is quirky, that’s for sure! Did you read Shades of Grey?

  4. I think Fforde is the next Douglas Adams. I’ve lost track of where I am in the Thursday Next series: I think there’s a fifth book that I haven’t read yet, but I’ve enjoyed them all. (I just checked his website: there are 6 published with a 7th coming out this year. I’ve got some catching up to do: yay!) I loved the Nursery Crimes series as well–they’re sillier. Shades of Grey was very interesting; I liked it less because it wasn’t as funny, but it had some deep ideas in it. I just read his first YA book: The Last Dragonslayer. It was very funny; quite satirical.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kim – I forgot about The Last Dragonslayer – I really wanted to read that when I first heard about it! Sounds like it might be a good read-aloud for me and my boys.

  5. Samantha says:

    I really enjoyed this book when I read it as well but I have yet to continue on with the series. I also read Shades of Grey by this author and it was another really good read. I need to pick up the 2nd book sometime soon. Great review!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Samantha – I enjoyed Shades of Grey, too – very different, but an interesting read.

  6. Kathleen says:

    For want of a better word this one sounds wacky but in a good way, I think!