My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . .
Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . .
It has been years since I've read a book and fell in love with it without the least bit of hesitation. When I started reading 'The Eyre Affair,' moments later I had fallen in love, and this book became an instant favorite of mine. I LOVE this book.
Fforde's fictional world is priceless. The police state of England is populated by citizens who are damn serious about their literature. You can go to prison for trying to pass knock-offs of famous prose, and riots start between groups conflicting over who really wrote the works of Shakespeare. And you can literally step into a novel and interact with the characters of classic literature... or kidnap them.
Thursday next is an amazing gal, and the main character. She's a detective in literature, tracking down and nabbing the literature criminals. She's one of a kind, with Pickwick of course, her pet dodo, and really carries the novel forward. Along with Hades, the evil mastermind whose aim is to just... well, be evil, and to capture and kill literature's most beloved characters.
'The Eyre Affair' is beyond fun, witty, and creative. In a world where everything is upside down at times, Fforde manages to write his book with the utmost of distinction. He doesn't think twice about what he's crafting, and for that reason even the most comical of aspects comes off as just plain perfect. The characters as easy to fall in love with, and I found myself hanging on their every word an experience, whether professional or personal, I just loved the men and women in this novel.
Like I mentioned, instant favorite. A great mystery, sci-fi, drama, and comedy that really belongs in a category of its own. Don’t try and label this book, don’t give it a genre. It’s in a class all its own.
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