Saturday, May 9, 2009

"The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde

Summary: Set in a futuristic Britain in the 1980s,The Eyre Affair follows special operative Tuesday Next, an agent in the LiteraTec office, which protects works of literature. This is a Britain that takes literature very seriously, and Tuesday soon finds herself embroiled with the evil villain Acheron Hades when the original manuscripts of Dicken's Martin Chuzzlewit and Bronte's Jane Eyre go missing.

Musings: Tuesday's work and world have a basic sci-fi premise, and Fforde's characters are fairly generic. Tuesday's pain over fighting in the long-standing Crimean War is less than believable as is her relationship with fellow veteran Landen. The novel ends with the cliche "breaking up the wedding at the altar," which was rather annoying.

Nonetheless, what makes the book enjoyable are the tidbits for literature lovers. Tuesday loves literature and her world is full of the classics. Fforde includes references both obvious and subtle, making it especially exciting for someone familiar with the works. Shakespeare gets significant coverage, and I especially liked the continuing debate (and "explanation") over the authorship of Shakespeare's plays.

Jane Eyre forms the basis for the conflict in the play, and although I haven't read the book since high school, I had a basic enough understanding to be excited to see the canonical book used in a more flippant light.

Fforde shows that all those books kids were forced to read in high school can be fun, valuable, and rewarding.

- See my reviews of book two in the series, Lost in a Good Book, and book three in the series, The Well of Lost Plots.

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