The Eyre Affair, by Jasper FForde, is a very odd but brilliant book that
takes you on something of a magical mystical tour to an alternate reality of
modern England, where Dodos are not extinct, certain people have special
talents (like being able to move through time, or enter into the text of a
book), and in general the normal understanding of reality doesn’t hold much
sway. Oh yes, and the arts rule the world – French Impressionist riots,
Our heroine, Thursday Next, is a Literary Detective, spending her days
chasing down fake and stolen manuscripts of books. Enter villian extraordinaire
Acheron Hades (don’t say his name out loud!), who steals the original
manuscript to Martin Chuzzlewit and threatens to kill said character! This
plot foiled, he goes on to kidnap Jane Eyre, and holds her to ransom – can
Thursday save the day?
This book is impossible to fit into a genre – I was aware on several
occasions that literary jokes were passing me by, as I was not
familiar with the texts, but this is not a high-brow book – the characters
have names like “Page Tuner”!! And at times my brain was turned inside out
trying to follow the story (this only gets worse in the next book), but
it’s a hugely enjoyable romp, I found I just couldn’t put it down, and
the idea of being able to enter books and interfere with the characters
and plot is but genius!
Give it a try for some fairly light but very entertaining and
totally surreal reading, and marvel in the world FFord has created.