October 22, 2004

The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

This is a very odd book my sister gave me for my birthday, and as it's the first in a series I can see I'm going to have to find the sequels.

It's sort of a murder mystery, and sort of a science fiction novel, and sort of a thriller, and sort of a literary fantasy. It takes place in an alternate universe where Literature is more highly prized than in our own, a world where criminal fiends might reasonably kidnap the original manuscript of, say, Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit and hold it for ransom--and threaten to kill the title character if their demands are not met.

Literary detective Thursday Next is detailed to find the Chuzzlewit manuscript, and before she knows what's what she's entangled in a web of intrigue surrounding general all-around-bad-guy Acheron Hades, arch-criminal, seducer of college girls, and Thursday's one-time literature professor (she turned him down).

There's a lot of high literary foolishness in this book, and a lot of plain old ordinary foolishness as well, and I have to thank my sister because it was a great way to be "unavoidably detained" for a few hours. And I have to apologize to Craig Clarke, as he reviewed it for Ex Libris Reviews just last February, and I didn't go looking for it.

But I shall certainly go looking for its sequel, Lost in a Good Book.

Posted by Will Duquette at October 22, 2004 08:59 PM

Phil said:

I've read about these books--not so much this one, but others--and they seems so silly. Maybe literature come to life doesn't appeal to me in most contexts. Even The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen doesn't appeal to me right off the bat.

Will Duquette said:

"Seems so silly"? Trust me, it is really, truly, terribly, awfully, absurdly silly. So what's the matter with that?

Phil said:

Ok. I'll look into it sometime. Up until now, it seemed so silly in a bad, lurid green, sort of, light. I didn't think of it being silly in a good way.

Will Duquette said:

Read the first couple of pages. If they turn you off, you might as well put the book back in the shelves. But if you can fall in with their tone of pseudo-science-fictional lunacy, I think you'll enjoy the rest of it.

Craig Clarke said:

I swear! You try to tell somebody something, even say it right there in the review, and do they listen? Sigh... :)

Glad you enjoyed it. Lost in a Good Book is even better. I don't think they're great books, by any means, but when it comes to this kind of quirky entertainment that seems tailor-made for us, you take what you can get.

Will Duquette said:

Craig, what can I say?

Usually what happens when someone recommends a book to me is I say, "Hmm, that's interesting," and if I happen to get to a bookstore soon enough I'll take a look. If I don't happen to get to a bookstore soon enough I forget all about it until somebody else recommends it. In this case the second recommendation was backed up with an actual copy of the book, which made it harder to forget. :-)

Craig Clarke said:

Ah, bribery! See, now that's something I can deal with.

Eric Brown said:

I picked up The Eyre Affair a couple of weeks ago, ripped right through it, and immediately picked up Lost in a Good Book. It's even funnier than Eyre; unfortunately, it's the first half of a duology, and ends on a cliffhanger, with several large plot threads left hanging. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Well of Lost Plots from the library.