I Believe in Make Believe,
This review is from: The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel (Paperback)
Welshman Jasper Fforde has written a detective novel with so many obvious influences from recent British literature (Douglas Adams, J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl and Terry Pratchett to name four) that it's hard to believe he's produced a unique story about 18th and 19th century British literature, and in a larger sense, about our relationships to all our heroes in the fictional world. But he has, and Fforde's tale is a very entertaining and often thought provoking read.
In the process Fforde introduces literary sleuth Thursday Next, who works in a Discworld-like alternate (Great Britain in 1985 with the Peoples' Republic of Wales an independent neighbor) who investigates literary crimes from run-of-the-mill plagiarisms to the dastardly work of Voldemort-like supervillain Acheron Hades, who carries out evil literary deeds just for fun of it. His next target - none other than beloved novel Jane Eyre (Collector's Library). In a world where "real" people and fictional characters travel to each others' worlds, his intention is to kidnap Ms. Eyre from the original manuscript of her own first-person story, thereby destroying the book. Ms. Next, a combination of Hermione Granger, Matilda and Dirty Harry, has both her job and personal motivation driving her to stop him.
The Eyre Affair was a summer reading assignment for my high school age daughter, but I think I enjoyed it more than she did. Fans of British literature, wordplay and the authors mentioned above will love this book. While readers obviously have to suspend disbelief in such a story, we also are forced to think about how often fictional characters (Harry Potter, Scarlett O'Hara, Jane Eyre and the like) become more real to us than people in our own lives. Four spirited stars, as I accept my daughter's criticism that Fforde may be trying to do just a bit too much - at least too much for the intended young adult readership.