Wish I'd Read It Sooner
review by Maryom
The Eyre Affair was of those books that I'd heard about, intended to read but somehow never got round to. Then events seemed to conspire to bring it back to my attention - first it came up in conversation as Jasper Fforde walked past us at Edinburgh Book Festival, then later he was good enough to sign autographs for the Teen and offer writing advice for her friend, and the following week, a later book in the series cropped up in a B+B! It was definitely time to read it!
Thursday Next is a Literary Detective - Litera Tec - in an alternative universe where trade in first edition classics is big, criminal, business. Mainly her work is involved with tracking down the gangs behind this trade but then her path crosses that of Acheron Hades, a master criminal who has plans to kidnap characters from novels and hold them to ransom. Can Thursday find a way of thwarting his plans before literature as we know it is changed forever?
The Eyre Affair is a marvellous work of imagination. It's alternate reality - of airships, pet dodos, an audience participation version of Richard III, an ongoing Crimean War and a Soviet Republic in Wales - is jam-packed with the wonderful and bizarre but holds firmly together with it's own internal logic. The plot moves briskly through its many twists, turns and time-loops with hardly a still moment for Thursday to catch her breath. I was slightly surprised that 'Jane Eyre', while always there in the background, didn't figure more highly and consistently throughout the plot - but that's just an issue with the title not the appeal of the book.
If this were the only Thursday Next novel, I'd wonder how the author was going to keep up his inventiveness but as I've arrived rather late at the party there are many more ready and waiting for me to discover - hopefully all as wonderfully eccentric. I find it a little sad though that only in a work of fiction is literature cared about so much.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Hodder
Genre - fantasy
Buy The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next) from Amazon