The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

In a world much like our own, but ever so slightly different (time travel is routine, cloning brings the dodo bird back as the pet of choice and Wales is “The Socialist Repulic of Wales”), we meet Thursday Next, a literary detective in one of Great Britain’s many unique divisions of law enforcement. She works for SpecOps 27, the agency responsible for dealing with forged or stolen manuscripts and works of literature.  There are 32 divisions of SpecOps, but several are unknown and highly classified (generally the lower the number of SpecOps divisons, the more secretive it is – for example #17 is the Vampire and Werewolf Disposal Operation, #12 is the Chronoguard, those who police the time stream, and #2 is simply “Highly Wierd Stuff”).

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the other big difference between our world and this one: literature takes the place of our popular entertainment and celebrity culture, and is taken very, very seriously.  Thus, the reason for a whole division of law enforcement dedicated to literature.  So, naturally, when the world’s third-most-wanted criminal kidnaps Jane Eyre from the pages of her novel, it’s up to our heroine to go after him herself and track down this madman before he commits a heinous act of literary homicide.  What she discovers along the way is whole other world that I’ll try not to spoil here, except to say that Thursday ends up juggling two closely related jobs in policing the world of literture.

This book was published in the U.S. in 2002 and I had a co-worker suggest it to me.  I took a quick look at it and decided that it would be too “punny” for me and I moved onto other books.  Woe unto me that I did not heed that co-worker’s suggestion! A couple of years later several other co-workers mentioned how much they loved it, so I finally gave it a try and instantly fell in love with Jasper Fforde’s writing!  Yes, it is a bit punny, but it is also literary, suspenseful, witty, humorous, fast-paced, quirky,and brilliant.  As The Wall Street Journal said, it “combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But its quirky charm is all its own.” This series is perfect for bibliophiles who enjoy adventure mixed with humor and a bit of Sci-Fi & Fantasy thrown in – genre-blending at its best!  The series continues with Lost in a Good Book, and is followed by three more sequels.

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One Response to “The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde”

  1. ostrov Says:

    Thank you, very interesting article

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