Jasper Fforde's writing is well-known, thanks to his popular "Thursday Next" series. In Shades of Grey
his abilities reach a whole new level. While the Thursday Next books are entertaining, Shades of Grey
is brilliant. The world he creates is unique and fully-realized, if not always fully explained, and it's a much darker and more dangerous place than the settings of his previous novels.
Fforde drops the reader into an unfamiliar landscape with no ramp-up; we are aware from the outset that this is a futuristic world markedly different from our own. The book's first paragraph is typical of the style and tone evident throughout the novel:
"It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit and ended up with my being eaten by a carnivorous plant. It wasn't really what I'd planned for myself - I'd hoped to marry into the...
Beyond the Book
Jasper Fforde was born in London on January 11, 1961. His father was a prominent economist, while his mother did charity work and was a passionate reader. Fforde and his four siblings were raised in London and Wales. At the age of twelve Fforde was sent to Dartington Hall School, a progressive coeducational boarding school near Totnes, Devon, which he attended until his graduation in 1979.
As a child he shared his mother's love of reading, and by the age of eleven had become quite interested in film and television. While the young Fforde liked to watch Monty Python, he was particularly influenced by a commercial he saw for milk starring the actor Roger Moore. It...