Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair
By Jasper Fforde
Penguin February 2003
374 pages
From my to-be-read shelf

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)

Thursday Next lives in a version of England that is a bit different from our own. Thursday works in a special unit of the police that solves literary crimes. The line between reality and fiction is blurred in her world. People take literature so seriously that it is not uncommon for brawls to break out over the authorship of the Shakespearean plays. Have I mentioned that her father was an agent in the time travel unit and Thursday enjoys the company of her pet dodo? Things take a turn for the stranger when someone begins kidnapping characters from beloved works of literature.

In the midst of this bizarre and wonderful world, we get a very serious narrator. Thursday has some serious mental scars from her service in the ongoing Crimean War, compacted by the tragic death of her brother. She is a tough cookie, ready to argue with her boss or take on the most evil villain the literary world has seen yet. I think this is a bold choice for Fforde. It would be easy to have a lovely, precocious heroine who wanders through the pages of books (sometimes literally). Instead, Thursday is a woman who truly loves books but has lots of baggage and some serious attitude.

The Eyre Affair obviously has much to do with that beloved novel. I don’t think it is necessary to have read Jane Eyre in order to enjoy this book, but I think it does add another layer of understanding. I actually found myself understanding the character of Rochester much better in the pages of this novel than I did while reading its inspiration.

I feel like this book is a huge hug from Mr. Fforde for everyone who loves books. The Eyre Affair is a lot of fun and a perfect break for the reader who is traveling through the gigantic tomes of classic literature. Who hasn’t imagined actually living in their favorite book and meeting the characters that they love best?

I enjoyed this book, but I don’t feel the need to run out and grab the sequel immediately. I am curious, though, about what else Fforde can do in this quirky world he has created. Have you read the rest of the series? Did you love it? 

I'm sorry we missed our Wednesdays with David post yesterday. We were saying a tearful goodbye to our newest sister/aunt, a foreign exchange student staying with my parents for the past year. We promise to have a great kid's book for you next week!


  1. I've been meaning to read this one for years. I think it will be the next series I dip into!

    1. I know! I kept hearing about it and I'm glad I finally took the leap. :)