08/17/2005 Entry: "EYRE AFFAIR and LOST IN A GOOD BOOK -- Stop at one? (Rebekah)"
I recently finished THE EYRE AFFAIR by Jasper Fforde. Wonderful! It's an extremely hard to describe book, containing elements of Science-Fantasy, Alternate History, Police Procedural, Romance, Horror, Literary Criticism, and on. Fforde also plays with the nature of reading and bookwriting which creates a sort of looping metastory, but don't worry - it's not as slow-going as that sounds. The world is one where literature is popular culture -- Bronte and Browning are like our rock stars, wars happen between Surrealists and Non-surrealists, and every Friday night the local theater puts on Shakespeare's Richard III with actors drawn from the audience because everyone comes costumed and knows the lines by heart.
The protagonist is a woman named Thursday Next who is a veteran of the Crimean War (still going on in 1985), owns a dodo (cloned out of extinction), and works in a specialized police department that investigates the extremely lucrative business of literary fraud. Her father was/is a member of police squad who specialize in time travel anomalies, but got prevented from being born when he went rogue. This doesn't stop him from regularly popping up in Thursday's life.
The plot is about someone who can enter fiction -its own bounded reality- and kill favorite characters thereby altering all copies of the book. This person then kidnaps Jane Eyre and holds her hostage. One thing that bugged me a lot -- I listened to this as an audio book, so the cuteness behind the antagonist's name "Jack Schitt" was just annoying.
The romance is between Thursday and an old war-comrade named Landen. Ten years ago when they were fighting together in Crimea, they were engaged. They broke up when Landen testified in tribunal that Thursday's brother caused a military disaster ("The Charge of the Light (Armor) Brigade"). She meets him again ten years later but still can't forgive him. Spending some time with Jane Eyre's Rochester convinces Thursday to try again. There is a great scene where literary characters help Thursday break up Landen's wedding to someone else.
Replies: 5 Comments
Landen is rescued in Something Rotten, and it's totally awesome!
Posted by Beka @ 08/17/2005 03:07 PM ET
Have to agree -- totally awesome series! Long Live Emperor Zhark!!! The romance in this series isn't actually that strong, but it's sweet. They're riotous fun, though. Definitely a must-read for book lovers.
Posted by Ann @ 08/18/2005 02:27 PM ET
I've been assured by many that Landen is indeed rescued in book 4. Guess I'm forced to read for myself! ;)
Posted by Rebekah @ 08/20/2005 01:39 AM ET
Like you, I got stuck in the 2nd book. I do have the 3rd one (found it on clearance) and thought I'd give it a try, but now maybe I'll skip to the 4th. ;)
Posted by SK @ 08/24/2005 03:39 PM ET
Definitely plow your way through The Well of Lost Plots. Something Rotten is almost as good as the Eyre Affair (tho' Hamlet is no substitute for Mr. Rochester), but if you haven't read the other two you might miss a lot of the inside jokes(and Fforde sets up his new Jack Spratt series, which I didn't catch the first time through).
Posted by nessili @ 09/02/2005 08:58 PM ET