Continuing with my resolve to read more popular and contemporary books which everyone else in blogland has already read ages ago, I took on The Eyre Affair. I've heard and read a lot about it and mostly good things. I've also heard Fforde compared to Douglas Adams and even the Monty Python crew, but such comparisons do them all a disservice. The only common ground is a certain irreverence that comes through in all their works. Anyway, back to The Eyre Affair. It’s a bit of a genre-defying variety show and you’ll enjoy it a lot better if you don’t go in with any preconceived notions.
The Eyre Affair is set in an alternative reality where literature is taken very seriously and Jane Eyre ends very differently. Politics revolves around the ongoing Crimean War and England is almost entirely ‘managed’ by the Goliath Corporation. The heroine, Thursday Next, is a literary detective who is on the trail of evil mastermind Acheron Hades. Hades has stolen the manuscript of Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit and is threatening to kill its central character. What follows is a madcap adventure that defies time, logic, reality and even fiction.
Based on everything I had heard about it (mainly the constant comparisons to Adams) I expected it to be more Laugh Out Loud funny. It wasn't. It was a fun book, but the humor is not as in- your- face as I had thought it would be. I’m probably not explaining this very well; just don’t expect The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. I’m not complaining though. I thoroughly enjoyed the world Fforde has created here. Which reader wouldn't? It’s a world where there are coin operated machines that dispense Shakespearean soliloquies and Mr Rochester walks in and out of Jane Eyre. What’s not to love? It’s the perfect adventure/fantasy for a bookworm like me.
I am eager to read Fforde’s The Big Over Easy. Anyone read any of his Nursery Crimes books? Any good?