Friday, April 8, 2011

Eyre Affair Review

Book talk: In a universe where Baconians go door to door trying to convince people that Shakespeare was really just a front-man and four thousand people in London go by the name John Milton people take their literature very seriously.  So when criminal mastermind Acheon Hades starts kidnapping characters from original manuscripts, erasing them from every copy, there is a public outcry.  Literary Detective Thursday Next is on the case, but with governmental secrecy and red tape tying her up and an adversary who can control people's minds, the chances of her solving the case seem slimmer and slimmer.  But no matter how dangerous things get, Next can't give up--not when the stakes are the very existence of her favorite novel.

Rocks my socks: I absolutely love the universe created for this novel.  Radical surrealists riot in the streets and people have pet dodos.  The local theatre plays Richard III every Friday and cast members are chosen from the audience, who dress up for the production and have call backs for lines like it's Rocky Horror Picture Show or something.  I want to attend this production of Richard III!  I am thoroughly convinced now that if people dressed up to go to Shakespeare plays like they did for Rocky it would be a far better world.  There are also excerpts from fake books and newspaper clippings at the beginning of each chapter and I always love those kind of extra details.

Rocks in my socks: The story wasn't actually very compelling and even the characters weren't particularly endearing or well developed.  While the details of the universe were unique and pleasantly surprising the plot was pretty predictable.  This didn't bother me too much though because I believe it was meant to be.  For example early on in the novel the characters complain about how Jane Eyre doesn't end up with Mr. Rochester.  It's pretty easy for anyone who knows the real ending of Jane Eyre to predict what ends up happening, and the target audience of the novel is definitely people who are privy to this information.

Every book its reader: The appeal of this book is in its world-building and its literary references.  It's a gimicky novel and I can accept that and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I know that that type of novel isn't for everyone.  If you're looking for a typical whodunit mystery or a fast-paced thriller or a complex character study, move along.  But if you enjoy the absurd and clever allusions, then this is the book for you.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out at your local library

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