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The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by [Fforde, Jasper]
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4.1 out of 5 stars 617 customer reviews

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Length: 379 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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

This novel might be called "James Bond Meets Harry Potter in the Twilight Zone." In fact, the reader plays "name that literary reference" through most of this zany work, where characters wander around in time from the Crimean War through the present and into the future, and in and out of novels including, of course, Jane Eyre. The narrator, Tuesday Next, is a tough, gun-totin' heart-of-gold heroine with a pet dodo, a true love she has refused to acknowledge and a brilliant, dotty scientist uncle named Mycroft. Her job is to rescue literary characters kidnapped out of books from being wiped off the face of every copy of a work by tracking down and outwitting the purely evil Asheron Hades and Goliath Corporation greedyman Jack Shit. Throughout, discussions of who really wrote Shakespeare's plays abound, along with send-ups of every literary genre from the highest to the lowest brow. Sastre's reading works particularly well because she's good at the straight narrative, while the nature of the book's language makes melodramatic voices for the other bizarre characters. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 17, 2001).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 987 KB
  • Print Length: 379 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 034073356X
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (February 25, 2003)
  • Publication Date: February 25, 2003
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OCXHC2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 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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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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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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