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The Eyre Affair Hardcover – January 28, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Alex Awards (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (January 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670030643
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670030644
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (548 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Penzler Pick, January 2002: When I first heard the premise of this unique mystery, I doubted that a first-time author could pull off a complicated caper involving so many assumptions, not the least of which is a complete suspension of disbelief. Jasper Fforde is not only up to the task, he exceeds all expectations.

Imagine this. Great Britain in 1985 is close to being a police state. The Crimean War has dragged on for more than 130 years and Wales is self-governing. The only recognizable thing about this England is her citizens' enduring love of literature. And the Third Most Wanted criminal, Acheron Hades, is stealing characters from England's cherished literary heritage and holding them for ransom.

Bibliophiles will be enchanted, but not surprised, to learn that stealing a character from a book only changes that one book, but Hades has escalated his thievery. He has begun attacking the original manuscripts, thus changing all copies in print and enraging the reading public. That's why Special Operations Network has a Literary Division, and it is why one of its operatives, Thursday Next, is on the case.

Thursday is utterly delightful. She is vulnerable, smart, and, above all, literate. She has been trying to trace Hades ever since he stole Mr. Quaverley from the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and killed him. You will only remember Mr. Quaverley if you read Martin Chuzzlewit prior to 1985. But now Hades has set his sights on one of the plums of literature, Jane Eyre, and he must be stopped.

How Thursday achieves this and manages to preserve one of the great books of the Western canon makes for delightfully hilarious reading. You do not have to be an English major to be pulled into this story. You'll be rooting for Thursday, Jane, Mr. Rochester--and a familiar ending. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly

HSurreal and hilariously funny, this alternate history, the debut novel of British author Fforde, will appeal to lovers of zany genre work (think Douglas Adams) and lovers of classic literature alike. The scene: Great Britain circa 1985, but a Great Britain where literature has a prominent place in everyday life. For pennies, corner Will-Speak machines will quote Shakespeare; Richard III is performed with audience participation … la Rocky Horror and children swap Henry Fielding bubble-gum cards. In this world where high lit matters, Special Operative Thursday Next (literary detective) seeks to retrieve the stolen manuscript of Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit. The evil Acheron Hades has plans for it: after kidnapping Next's mad-scientist uncle, Mycroft, and commandeering Mycroft's invention, the Prose Portal, which enables people to cross into a literary text, he sends a minion into Chuzzlewit to seize and kill a minor character, thus forever changing the novel. Worse is to come. When the manuscript of Jane Eyre, Next's favorite novel, disappears, and Jane herself is spirited out of the book, Next must pursue Hades inside Charlotte Bront‰'s masterpiece. The plethora of oddly named characters can be confusing, and the story's episodic nature means that the action moves forward in fits and starts. The cartoonish characters are either all good or all bad, but the villain's comeuppance is still satisfying. Witty and clever, this literate romp heralds a fun new series set in a wonderfully original world. (Jan. 28)Forecast: With a six-city author tour, a well-conceived Web site at www.thursdaynext.com and crossover appeal to Bront‰ fans, this is likely to attract more attention than the usual first genre novel.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring vacantly out of the window and arranging words on a page. He lives and writes in Wales. The Eyre Affair was his first novel in the bestselling Thursday Next series. He is also the author of the Nursery Crime series.

Customer Reviews

Well written story, with many very witty literary references and plot twists.
Derek
I really don't want this review to be too scathing because the end of this story was just adorable; very creative--my favorite part of the book.
Lynne P. Caldwell
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is a great book for anyone who loves detective stories, literature, and a little romance.
DanielleB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jasper Fforde has a rich imagination that moves in wacky directions, an off-the-wall sense of humor that never quits, and a deep knowledge and love of literature which give shape and substance to this hilarious "thing" he's created. Not really a mystery, sci-fi thriller, satire, or fluffy fantasy, this wild rumpus contains elements of all these but feels like a completely new genre. Fforde combines "real" people from the "historically challenged" world of his plot with characters from classic novels, adding dollops of word play, irony, literary humor, satire--and even a dodo bird--just for spice.

With "real" characters who can stop time or travel back and forth in it, hear their own names (the names here are really terrific!) from 1000 yards away, appear in duplicate before themselves to give advice, travel inside books, and change the outcome of history, the reader journeys through Fforde's looking glass into a different and far more literary universe than the one we know. Thursday Next, a SpecOp-27 in the Literary Detective Division of Special Operations, is looking for Acheron Hades, who has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and killed one of the characters in it, thereby changing the story forever. Thursday and the Literatecs are trying to prevent him from getting inside Jane Eyre and committing further murders.

If you have not read Jane Eyre recently, your pleasure in this book will be greatly enhanced if you look up a brief plot summary on-line before proceeding too far--the ending of Jane Eyre as we know it is different from the ending of Jane Eyre as Thursday Next knows it, and the differences themselves become a delightful part of this plot.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Josh Aterovis on June 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
With the first page of this book, Fford caught my attention and held it fast until the last. I hated to see it end, but I was very happy to discover that it was only first in a series featuring Spec-Ops agent Thursday Next. Fford has created a blend of mystery, science fiction, and fantasy that is similar to Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently series. Fford's books even have the same irreverently sublime silliness, but with a decidedly literary bent.
The books are set in an alternate universe, one where England is the world greatest super power, but is held under the control of a shadowy mega-company called Goliath. The year is 1985, but it's unlike any 1985 you or I might remember. Technology is both far advanced and far behind. The Crimean War still drags on and the world's biggest superstars are authors. A special crime enforcement unit has been formed to deal with crimes that fall outside the usual boundaries of police jurisdiction. Thursday Next works for Spec-Ops 27, the Literary Division.
When the world's third most wanted criminal, Acheron Hades, finds a way to jump into the original manuscript of Dicken's MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT and assassinates Mr. Quaverley (a character you will only remember if you read the book before 1985), Thursday is assigned the case. It turns out that the assassination of Mr. Quaverley was only an example of what he was capable of, and when he jumps into JANE EYRE and kidnaps the title character, it's up to Thursday to save the beloved heroine...and the book.
I'll warn you now that you'll have to suspend belief while reading this book. It should be read as a fantasy first and foremost. It deals with time travel (Thursday's father is a Spec-Ops agent as well, but in the Chronoguard), cloned dodo's (Thursday's marshmallow loving pet Pickwick, version 1.
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90 of 107 people found the following review helpful By LEB on March 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm reasonably well read, I love mysteries, I know all of Monty Python by heart, Joss Whedon cracks me up, and I even though Bridget Jones' Diary was pretty good. According to the blurbs on the cover I should be just the target audience for this book.

And in fact it started out okay, with some interesting ideas. A society in which literature is as popular as soccer or cricket or football are here-- okay, that's pretty clever. I was interested to see what the author would come up with.

The first sign of trouble was the names. Film critic Roger Ebert has what he called the First Law of Funny Names: "...which teaches us that deliberately funny names in the movies are a giveaway sign of desperation at the screenplay level." I felt the same way here. Some of the names are just sophomoric (like Jack Schitt), while others are so interchangable, all being cute puns, that I had trouble keeping track of who was who. Thank goodness at least the bad guy is called Acheron Hades.

Keeping the characters straight was just annoying, but the plot turned out to be fatal. We start out in an alternate reality which is, well, alternate, but seems pretty reasonable. Then, all of a sudden, surprise! People can travel through time! Okay, alternate reality with time travel. Then, all of a sudden, surprise! You can go into a book! Well, that wasn't much of a surprise, since I'd read the back cover, so we'll let it go. Then, all of a sudden, surprise! There are werewolves and vampires in this world! Oooo... kay. Then, all of a sudden, surprise! The characters go through a black hole! At that point I just rolled my eyes and stopped caring-- if the whole thing was completely random, then there was basically no point to the book.
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