The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair

A Novel

Book - 2003
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Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodas are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Based on an imaginary world where time and reality bend in the most convincing and original way since The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Eyre Affair is a delightful rabbit hole of a read: once you fall in you may never come back. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in Wordsworth poems, militant Baconians roam freely spreading the gospel that Bacon, not Shakespeare, penned those immortal works. And forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. This is all business as usual for brainy, bookish (and heat-packing) Thursday Next, a renowned Special Operative in literary detection -- that is, until someone begins murdering characters from works of literature. When this madman plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte's novel Thursday faces the challenge of her career. Aided and abetted by characters that include her time-traveling father, an executive of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday must track down the world's Third Most Wanted criminal and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide. A brilliantly outlandish and absorbing caper destined to become a classic adventure tale, The Eyre Affair is an irresistible thriller and the introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer. In Jasper Fforde's singular fictional universe no literary character is safe from crime. And for Special Operative Thursday Next this is only the beginning ...
Publisher: New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, c2003
ISBN: 9780142001806
0142001805
Branch Call Number: SF/Fantasy Ffo
Characteristics: vii, 374 p. ; 20 cm

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d
darladoodles
Jun 01, 2017

There was much in this book for a librarian like me to enjoy. The villain was a crafty and seemingly invincible adversary for our heroine SecOps Agent Thursday Next. That brings to mind the quirky names sprinkled throughout including Braxton Hicks and Jack Schitt. Add in the out-of-time pop in visits from her father, the return of the Dodo bird as a pet of choice and the many references to great literature including one of my favorite novels of all time: "Jane Eyre" and you have a book that is worth reading. I will definitely be giving this series some more attention. Without delivering any huge spoilers I must mention one of my favorite moments in the book when Agent Next is in a hospital bed and receives a visit from her future self and partner agent in a multi-colored roadster. Where can I get one of those?!

SquamishLibraryStaff Mar 15, 2017

I have fallen head over heels in love with Jasper Fford’s highly original literary world and am looking forward to his next book. Not sure that I fully approve of Thursday’s romantic choices, but hopefully that will be further fleshed out later in the series.

A note in case anyone is wondering, I might have enjoyed this even more if I’d read “Jane Eyre” first, but it’s not necessary.

c
Cedowns2
Dec 12, 2016

At first I found the novel a little hard to get into, with all the war and military talk and all. But the alternate reality of a literate and literature-knowledgeable citizenry (so unlike our own unfortunate reality) held my interest. Delightful and impressively imaginative story. The narrator was really good at various voices.

e
Eric_S_Hope
Nov 25, 2016

The writing was crisp, the characters felt real, the world was...odd. I wasn't sure what to make of it, whether to take it completely seriously or completely farcical. It is a world where literature is revered to a near spiritual level (there are groups of people proselytizing about who wrote Shakespeare's plays), and whole police bureaus are dedicated to literary crimes. There is some time-travel sillyness thrown in as well, but it's entirely peripheral to the plot, adds more to the world-building and characterization than anything else.

In all, I enjoyed the story, it just made me look sideways at it a few times.

w
wandalynn
Jun 25, 2016

Playful humor and a bit of alternate history set in a world where classic literature is the hottest thing in popular culture. I'd say it's more clever than outright funny and probably not even that if you've never read Jane Eyre. And if you plan to read JE don't read this book first - it's full of spoilers.

s
ScorchingSun
Sep 18, 2015

It's difficult to successfully combine different genres.
Although clever and entertaining, I found the goofiness, instead of clicking with the action and drama, detract from them.

FindingJane Apr 16, 2015

Combining locked-room thefts, real-life book exploration, time travel, literary battles, burping bookworms and re-generated dodos, “The Eyre Affair” is like Douglas Adams crossed with Terry Pratchett, with the best classical literary writers in the English language thrown in for good measure. Mr. Fforde’s work brims with a love of wordplay neatly inserted into an alternate history that sits very comfortably in the reader’s psyche.

After a few chapters, it’s easy to accept a world where people can buy dodo sequencing kits over the counter like cough medicine or temporal anomalies appear out of nowhere and cause traffic jams and where a genius literally loses his wife in a Wordsworth poem. Mr. Fforde’s world is both off kilter and utterly mundane and therein lies the fun. Throw in a megalomaniacal villain who doesn’t show up on film, is seemingly bulletproof and can manipulate people’s minds and you’ve got a ripping good tale on your hands.

This is the start of a fantastic series but reads well as a standalone book. However, Thursday Next is a formidable heroine who’s just starting out on her adventures. Travel in time and space with her; it’s well worth the trip.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 18, 2015

A quirky, clever novel based on an alternate universe (Great Britain circa 1985) where time travel is routine, reality bends in most original ways and literary characters can and do leave the pages of books. In this imaginary world where one can literally get lost in a poem, literature is taken very, very seriously. This is the first book in an inventive and entertaining series where Thursday Next, literary detective, must hunt the villain who is killing characters in literary works and who kidnaps Emily Bronte from her novel.

Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 08, 2014

Brilliant farce/satire in a fascinating alternate world. Lots of fun for fans of classic literature. A worthy competitor for Terry Pratchett.

NYPLRecommends Sep 04, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
In the alternate reality of a literature-obsessed England, there are rival gangs of Shakespeare theorists, and detective Thursday Next of the book crimes unit looks into two mysteries: the theft of the original Martin Chuzzlewith manuscript for mysterious reasons, and why Jane Eyre has disappeared from the book at page 187. A very clever, fun read.
- Jill Rothstein, Andrew Heiskell Library

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LazyNeko
Oct 23, 2011

"As the saying goes: If you want to get into SpecOps, act kinda weird. We don't tend to pussyfoot around."

Scooteriffic Mar 19, 2011

"Plock"

"Governments and fashions come and go but Jane Eyre is for all time."

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KCWeimer
Jul 28, 2013

England 1985: Litera Tec agent Thursday Next must solve the mysterious theft of the original manuscript to Martin Chuzzelwith, the disappearance of Jane Eyre from the book around page 187, and how both relate to the possible end to the Crimean War.

Fantastic read for literature lovers everywhere, especially if you enjoy alternative history narratives

The first in the series of Thursday Next books. Here, we start with the basics, with Thursday working for a division of law enforcement that focuses exclusively on book related crimes. All goes relatively well, until the realms of fiction and reality cross-over in all together unexpected ways, leading to the random (of sorts) of the book Jane Eyre.

Oh, and there's all sorts of other brilliantly dry British and literature related humour.

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Brandon Peter Schatz thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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