Summary and book reviews of The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair

by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2002, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2003, 384 pages

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Book Summary

Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun - a novel unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe.

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 . . .

Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe.

A Woman Named
Thursday Next

". . . The Special Operations Network was instigated to handle policing duties considered either too unusual or too specialized to be tackled by the regular force. There were thirty departments in all, starting at the more mundane Neighborly Disputes (SO-30) and going onto Literary Detectives (SO-27) and Art Crime (SO-24). Anything below SO-20 was restricted information, although it was common knowledge that the ChronoGuard was SO-12 and Antiterrorism SO-9. It is rumored that SO-1 was the department that polices the SpecOps themselves. Quite what the others do is anyone's guess. What is known is that the individual operatives themselves are mostly ex-military or ex-police and slightly unbalanced. "If you want to be a SpecOp," the saying goes, "act kinda weird . . ."

MILLION DE FLOSS
- A Short History of the Special Operations Network

My father had a face that could stop a clock. I don't mean that he was ugly or anything; it was a phrase...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Introduction to The Eyre Affair

Masterpiece Theatre meets James Bond in The Eyre Affair, the first novel in Jasper Fforde's cheeky sleuth series featuring a book-loving, gun-toting, wit-slinging heroine named Thursday Next. In Thursday's world, an alternate version of 1985 London, literature rules popular culture—audiences enact and participate in Richard III for Friday-night fun, thousands of visitors make literary pilgrimages to gawk at original manuscripts, and missionaries travel door-to-door heralding Francis Bacon as the true Bard.

The mysterious theft of the Martin Chuzzlewit original manuscript from the Dickens Museum catalyzes Thursday's transformation from humble library cop into intrepid literature ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani

Thursday is part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew and part Dirty Harry. Genuinely clever invention. Mr. Fforde has...found his own exuberant voice.

The Wall Street Journal - Tom Nolan

Combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but its quirky charm is all its own.

Turkshead Review

Jasper Fforde's first novel spins a gnarly, surreal yarn.... This is the world of camp, having more in common with shows like the Avengers, HitchHiker's Guide, Batman, even Austin Powers than the stodgy literary world of Austen and Charlotte Bronte.... A playful, jangling funhouse ride for the literary geek in all of us.

Library Journal

So unusual you've got to read it to believe it; and please do, trumpets London's Bookseller. Unusual, indeed; in Fforde's debut, set in 1985 in an alternate London, literature is (refreshingly) so important that you can get punished for forging Byronic verses. Then someone starts kidnapping literary characters Jane Eyre's disappearance is particularly traumatic and Special Operative Thursday Next must stop this before it's too late.

Publishers Weekly

Surreal and hilariously funny, this alternate history, the debut novel of British author Fforde, will appeal to lovers of zany genre work (think Douglas Adams) and lovers of classic literature alike.... Witty and clever, this literate romp heralds a fun new series set in a wonderfully original world.

Barnes & Noble Review

Umberto Eco meets Harry Potter...Fforde's first fiction foray will delight a broad spectrum of intrepid readers, including aficionados of science fiction, history, British humor, and classic literature alike.

London Times

If you have read any of the classics of English Literature, you will feel strangely at home in the action-packed alternative universe of Thursday next.... Hectic, humorous ... and most satisfying.

The Harrow

The Eyre Affair is a wonderfully absurd fantasy about time travel and a 1985 alternate Earth...

Reader Reviews

Cloggie Downunder

just wonderful
The Eyre Affair is the first novel by Jasper Fforde, and the first in the Thursday Next series. Thursday Next is a SpecOps 27 operative, a LiteraTec, who deals in crimes against literature. The novel is set in 1985, when England has been at war with ...   Read More

Melissa

I really enjoyed this book. I originally read "The Eyre Affair" because I am a fan of "Jane Eyre." Honestly, after reading the short summary on the back of the book, I thought it would be a bit too silly. After reading the ...   Read More

Katherine

I enjoyed reading "The Eyre Affair" emensely. It's novel that contains an element of just about every genre of fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, romance, mystery, etc, so intermingled that the reader is never in danger of being bored. The wordplay ...   Read More

Nancy

I loved this book. I grew up loving Nancy Drew books, and I love this book with a strong, female detective lead character. Having read the next two books in this series as well, I am constantly amazed at the imagination and creativity of Jasper ...   Read More

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