The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde

Posted 12 March, 2009 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 34 Comments


Title: The Eyre Affair
Author: Jasper Fforde
Date Finished: March 8, 2009 #11
Published: 2002 Pages: 376
Rating: 4/5

Do you ever just not wanna? I don’t want to think. I don’t want to type. But I also don’t want to let my thoughts on this book to disappear to wherever my thoughts on books disappear to. What’s a girl to do?

I can’t remember where I first heard about this book–maybe the Something About Me Challenge two summers ago? I had forgotten what the book was really about (those thoughts must have gone where my other thoughts go), and I had it in my head that this was some type of Jane Eyre romance spin-off. How wrong I was!

The Eyre Affair is set in 1985, but it is a type of futuristic 1985 “where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taking very, very seriously” (back cover). Thursday Next, the main character, is a SpecOps agent in charge of literary crimes–such as forgeries and manuscript theft. She is called into a special case when the original manuscript of Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit mysteriously disappears.

In an effort to recover the missing manuscript, Thursday finds herself in the midst of the most heinous literary crime–a villain by the name of Hades is going into original manuscripts (literally going in) and disposing of characters. Hades next victim will be Jane Eyre if Thursday cannot stop him first. Imagine–a world without Jane Eyre.

While I was expecting more of a literary feast with this book, it was an incredibly fun read. You hear about books for book lovers, and this is one in full force. Literary allusions abound on each page, Fforde uses metaphors and wit, and I often found myself chuckling out loud. I love the idea of being able to travel into a book and cavorting with the characters–such as Thursday did with Mr. Rochester (Jane never knew of Thursday’s existence, but boy was she suspicious!). But when she travels into Jane Eyre, will the story as we know it change and be lost forever?

I’d recommend this book as a light and entertaining read. When I mentioned thinking about reading it for the read-a-thon, I got a few comments about the complexity of the book, but other than piecing together how Thursday’s 1985 world looks and musing about some of the literary references, I found it to be a pretty quick read. And again, who doesn’t love books about books–especially one about one of the most beloved classics?

Also read by:
~ Amanda ~ Raidergirl3 ~ Dewey ~ Samantha ~ Eva ~
If I’ve missed yours, let me know. I know some of you others (Chris!) have read it, but I couldn’t find a review.

34 Responses to “The Eyre Affair – Jasper Fforde”

  1. I just read this book about a month ago and I totally agree with your assessment. My only regret was that there were not more examples of Thursday’s adventures within the classic text.

  2. My favorite part of this book is the interactions with Rochester. Fforde completely masters Rochester’s voice and personality from Jane Eyre, and I really appreciated that. The plocking dodos were fun, too. The only thing that bugged me with the amount of plotlines left unraveled. I’m hoping they’ll tie up somewhere in the rest of this series.

  3. I loved this whole series, and now am waiting anxiously for the next Next book…whenever that is due to come out!

  4. *S. Krishna – I really hope you like it! There are a lot of things to like about this one. :)

    *Molly – I wish there was a little bit more depth as well. For a 375 page book, it didn’t seem to cover very much! I guess more focused on action.

    *Amanda – *Hits head with fist* I guess I should pay attention when I copy a post from a group blog. I wondered that there were so many– wasn’t even thinking. :( I liked Fforde’s portrayal of Rochester as well, but it has been so long since I’ve read Jane Eyre that I don’t remember many of my initial impressions of him. Seems I never really liked the guy a whole lot.

    *Nicole – It is a really entertaining read. I hope you like it!!

    *Marg – I didn’t even realize that there was a series until recently! I can’t wait to find my next Fforde book. Do they need to be read in order?

  5. I thought I’d read one of Jasper Fforde’s book, but I just went to his web site and none of them ring a bell, so I guess I haven’t. I think I need to add one of his books to my wish list.

  6. Wow…as many times as I’ve heard this book mentioned, I never really had a clue what it was about. I was sort of under the same impression as you. It’s nice to be enlightened! And it really does sound like a fun read!

  7. Trish, I think it definitely would help to read them in order. The books are crazy enough without adding additional complications like reading out of order!

  8. Ah! Blasphemy! You don’t like Rochester? He’s one of my all-time favorite literary characters. :) Then again, most people yell Blasphemy when I say I hate Heathcliff and pretty much everything about Wuthering Heights, so I guess I can’t talk. :D

  9. *Bermuda – I had never heard of him until I started blogging, but apparently he’s written several books. Hope you like it!!

    *Debi – It was a very fun read–especially for those who like books and classics. I’m not sure where I got the impression that this was going to be a more serious read, but I was glad for the quirkiness!

    *Jess – Have you tried the other books in the series and didn’t like them or just haven’t gotten there yet?

    *Marg – Good to know! I’ll have to go on Amazon and see what comes next. :)

    *Amanda – Well, you already know that I fall into that WH/Heathcliff category. My mom calls him Heathcote–she hates him too. :P Like I said, though, it’s been years since I read Jane Eyre. Time for a re-reading!!

  10. I loved this book and still haven’t picked up the 2nd book yet. I really need to though as this was such a fun read. And the names were hilarious! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it as well :)

  11. It’s hard to go wrong with books about books! I’m really looking forward to reading this…I bet I’ll enjoy it a lot.

  12. *Samantha – The names were great! It wasn’t until the end that I finally caught onto Paige Turner! :)

    *Nymeth – It is definitely a fun read. I’m hoping my next book about reading/books will be The Uncommon Reader.

    *Bart – I had no idea about the nursery crime series. I love the sound of it, though!

    *Stephanie – I hope you like it–it’s a pretty quick read, so don’t wait too long.

    *Charley – It was very strange, but in a good way. I don’t think you have to read Jane Eyre first, but it does help knowing the characters and basic storyline. Hope you like it!

  13. I’m so glad to hear you liked this book! It’s so clearly a book for book lovers that it’s difficult to imagine anyone not enjoying it. The rest of the books in the series do wrap up the hanging plot lines from “The Eyre Affair” so no worries there! The other books in the series are just as great. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on those!

  14. Sooo many people love this series, but I just can’t seem to take it off my TBR shelf – other books scream louder. You have encouraged me, though. :)

  15. I read this one last year and absolutely loved it – thought it was so clever and definitely fun to read. I have also read a couple more in the series but you have reminded me that I need to keep reading them – thanks!!

  16. I thought this was a spin-off as well–it seems that there are quite a few out there these days (especially Austen ones). This premise does sound really neat–I generally enjoy futuristic books, although time travel tends to be confusing sometimes.

    I like the new picture you put up! Hello Trish’s face! :)

  17. Kya

    I read Something Rotten which also stars Thursday Next. I thought it was very funny with all the sly literary allusions. Hamlet plays a prominent role! I’ll have to read another Thursday Next.

  18. I loved this book! And the series too. I have the latest one to read, and then I’m caught up. I really enjoy how she gets into the books – you have to read the Well of Lost Plots! And Lost in A Good Book! Lovely review too, Trish.

  19. *JS Peyton – I’ve already made a list of the other books so I can continue on with the series! Glad to hear the plot lines get sorted out with the other ones.

    *Joy – I hope you like this one–it’s a pretty quick and fun read. But I know all about other books screaming louder!

    *Karen – Do you have a particular favorite out of the ones that you’ve read?

    *Laura – There were a few things about this book that were a little confusing, especially with the time traveling stuff (there isn’t a whole lot, but a few key parts use time traveling). If you’re planning on rereading Jane Eyre soon, you should read this one next!

    *Kya – Hamlet, huh? Sounds like a lot of fun. I like when books like this play around with the characters and stories we know so well.

    *Susan – I looked up the series on wikipedia yesterday and it looks like there is another one coming out soon also! I’ll definitely check out the two you mentioned–don’t they come next in the series?

  20. I LOVED this book, and the rest in the series (except the last one)! It’s different than anything I’ve ever read!

    BTW: Love your kitty’s toupe :-)

  21. These are such fun books! I haven’t read the last one yet because I kind of want to reread the others first as it’s been quite a while since I read them. I agree with Marg that it’s a good idea to read them in order.

  22. *NoBS – LOL–are you talking about the black patch on my cat’s head? Too funny! I guess you’re right. Anyway, I’ll definitely have to check out a few more!

    *Literary Feline – This one was a lot of fun–I hadn’t expected that at all!

    *Tanabata – I think I read somewhere that Fforde is coming out with a new one soon?

    *Michelle – I’m not sure how many there are–maybe 4 or 5? I’ll probably read the next one or two and see how I continue to like them!

  23. From what I understand, the one coming out later this year is the first book in a new series. Then there is supposed to be a new Thursday Next book in summer 2010. So maybe I’ll wait and reread them all next year before the new one comes out. :)

  24. I really enjoyed this book and had planned on reading the entire series but somehow I got side-tracked :? Thanks for the great review, it was a much needed reminder to get back into the Thursday books :)

  25. *Tanabata – I think the 2010 book is the one I was thinking of (I looked up the series on wikipedia to see how many there are). I didn’t realize how many books he had out!!

    *Joanne – I must have been living under some type of rock having just heard of this book/series! :) Is this the only one you’ve read so far?