Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

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This book was recommended to my book discussion group, Random Readers, by a college professor.  She is probably a much more intelligent creature than I am about many things.  I have some true favorites in Science Fiction, and this book had a brushstroke or two of Sci-fi.  However, my Sci-Fi favorites don’t present me with quite as many challenges.  For starters, I am chronologically challenged.  Books that jump forward and backward in time without dates or some other sort of marker to keep things straight are really difficult for me to stick with reading.  When I get lost and don’t know where I am, I have anxiety attacks and severe frustration.  It happens sometimes.  Next, the delusional world that I live in requires me to know who is real and who is not.  Fforde’s Thursday Next series is a little odd in that fictional characters can come to life at some point in the future, or was it the past?  I mean think of the horror books you have read.  Would you really desire for this to occur?  There are portals in time that can be traveled by both live fictional literary characters and real people, even tourists.  Ingenious, yes, I know, but confusing.  Also ingenious was the author’s development of a Special Operations Unit, a task force for the literary agency in charge of enforcing all of the rules relative to the above, a sort of F.B.I. that investigates missing manuscripts and alterations or manipulations in the literary works of authors.  There is also an aside romance that has a rather funny ending. If this all sounds fascinating to you then you will most certainly enjoy the book, and probably the entire Thursday Next series.  Thursday Next is the name of the Spec Ops agent that is in charge of maintaining order in this mixed up and somewhat disordered world of Fford’s.  I did stick with the book to the end, even though I was ready to give it up on about page thirty.  I was glad that I did.  I had prepared for this book by reading Jane Eyre again, a book I had not read since a teenager.  I was told that I would need to have that fresh in my mind if I really wanted to get the jokes.  The first joke was on me and started as I was about to give up again in chapter six.  I got upset when a tourist told the tour guide at the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth in Yorkshire that Charlotte Bronte really messed up the ending of Jane Eyre by running off to India with her cousin at the end.  I thought, WTH, the author doesn’t even know how the real Jane Eyre ended!  When I realized that was the whole point to the story, to get the real ending back, I really started getting into the read.  I happen to be one of those people who deeply loves Jane Eyre.  I love Bronte’s lofty descriptions and the depth to which she searches her soul.  It is the perfect book to read in front of a fireplace on cold rainy days.  The Eyre Affair would be the perfect read for someone with an excellent temporal memory who loves Sci-fi and classics.   I would give the book three and a half stars, only because I don’t have an excellent temporal memory.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

  1. Wow, it was really interesting to see your reading experience. I haven’t read this book in awhile, but I really loved it in high school. I remember being like “Wait, that’s not how Jane Eyre ends” too although I attributed that to my faulty memory – since Jane Eyre wasn’t fresh in my mind.

    • I can’t deny that it wasn’t funny in places. I toyed between a 3 and a 4 on this one, because I know some people really get into the whole time travel thing and it was ingeniously done, very unique, but I did have so much difficulty sticking with it….and I know that was just me, I had to go with 3.5.

  2. I enjoyed this book when I read it. This prompted me to read the remainder of the series which, on the whole, was enjoyable, but did seem to fizzle out towards the end, becoming sillier and sillier. A nice, easy, fun read though. Nice to see your views on it.

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