Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Eyre Affair / Jasper Fflorde

3 out of 5 stars
Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.

An eccentric but charming book. I read it on my way to Mexico—there was plenty of time, we missed our connection in Mexico City and had to buy a new ticket for much later in the evening. The tour leader who was expecting us is a charming Welshman, who had recommended Jasper Fforde to me a couple of years ago (on an earlier tour). It was time to be able to say that I had given it a try.

I do think that a passing familiarity with Jane Eyre would be a good thing before picking up this novel, but even if you’ve never even read the blurb of JE, you should still be able to find some amusement within.

The humour reminded me somewhat of Douglas Adams—very British and somewhat silly. I loved the pet dodos, the People’s Republic of Wales, the “new” ending to Jane Eyre, debates about Shakespeare, and the Literary Forces, among other details.

Recommended for English majors, Bronte fans, Shakespeare buffs, and anyone else who has read widely in the classics, but is willing to be a bit silly.

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