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Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Shades of Grey (edition 2010)

by Jasper Fforde

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,7442112,138 (4.08)1 / 372
Title:Shades of Grey
Authors:Jasper Fforde
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Your library

Work details

Shades of Grey: A Novel by Jasper Fforde

  1. 110
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (shallihavemydwarf)
  2. 82
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Othemts, TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: The dystopic comedy by by Jasper Fforde, not the adult novel read by housewives.
  3. 40
    The Island of the Colorblind by Oliver Sacks (bertilak)
  4. 20
    Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith (simon211175)
  5. 76
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Othemts)
  6. 11
    The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (ahstrick)
  7. 02
    Theory of Colours by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (bertilak)
    bertilak: In particular, see Goethe's section on pathological colours.
  8. 04
    Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (Yells)
  9. 04
    Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (KCLibrarian)
    KCLibrarian: Both books create believable societies unlike our own in some ways, but recognizably human in other ways. Both raise challenging societal questions and have some surprise twists and turns along the way. Both authors deftly ease their readers into the fantasy worlds they create, and by the time the story ends, leave readers wanting more.… (more)

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English (211)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (214)
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
(Re-posted from http://theturnedbrain.blogspot.com.au/)

One of the things I liked most about this book (and there are a lot of things to like about this book) is that even though it's really damn funny, the people in it act like people.

Eh, you say? What else are they going to act like, goats? Well, now, think about it. How often does the humour in "funny" books depend on the characters acting in ways that people normally wouldn't, or taking normal reactions and hugely exaggerating them? "It's only a flesh wound" is funny because it's not only a flesh wound, and a normal person would be quite upset about it.

Not that I'm claiming to be any huge expert on humourous books or anything. Quite the opposite- Pratchett aside I don't really read any. Because my enjoyment of a book is directly linked to how invested I am in the characters, and it's hard for me to get invested in characters in "funny" books.

But, Shades of Grey. Funny. Like, really funny. Really, really funny and packed full of characters you can get behind. People that, like I said, actually act like people. It's impressive how well it works. The book has a ridiculously bizarre and awesome set up. It's set a really, really long way into our future and something has happened to really mess up the colour spectrum. People are born being able to see only one colour naturally (and some can see more of it than others), and just looking at combinations of colours can have harmful or healing effects. And people, being people, go on and divide themelves into groups defined by who can see what colour, predicatably treating those who can see only grey like lesser beings.

That's pretty much the theme of this book. No matter how out there the situation, people are still going to act like shitty, selfish, occasionally heroic people. Fforde doesn't need to twist his characters into caricatures of humanity for his humour to work, he understands that humanity "as is" is already pretty funny. And by keeping his people "real" if you like, (how many "quote marks" can I cram into one review anyway?) it creates this really awesome contrast to the seriously nuts setting of the book.

And the amount of though Fforde put into this crazy set up is just astounding too. I've said this before: a good author can make you believe anything, a bad author will have you doubting everything. I really thing that Shades of Grey might be one of the most original books I've read, but also one of the easiest to accept, if you know what I mean.

And here we are, nearly at the end of my review, and I've barely touched on what normally I don't shut up about: the main characters! Let's just say they're great, all of them. Witty and flawed and sometimes selfish and sometimes not- in other words all the things you want your characters to be. There's a romance that doesn't go how I thought it would (and I have no idea where it will go in the sequels) and a really touching father/son relationship. And a shortage of spoons.

Shades of Grey is a book I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to someone who loved humorous novels, but I would also recommend it to people who don't. It's just a really great book. ( )
  MeganDawn | Jan 18, 2016 |
The chromatic concept is surprising and fascinating. The first 100 pages or so were extremely enjoyably mind-twisting. Eventually, this novelty wears off, though I enjoyed the fantasy world all the way through. But it is difficult to write believable and compelling characters in such a fantastic setting. Eddie, Jane and the others fall flat. Unfortunately, not much happens with the plot, either—it is all a setup for the sequels. ( )
  breic | Jan 17, 2016 |
great. smart, witty, complicated, love the characters though. even if i didn't get all of it still enough to follow all the characters stories. ( )
  kdf_333 | Jan 16, 2016 |
great. smart, witty, complicated, love the characters though. even if i didn't get all of it still enough to follow all the characters stories. ( )
  kdf_333 | Jan 16, 2016 |
I found this a little complex to start with, but after 50 pages or so it just kept getting better and better. A mix of 1984, Pride and Prejudice, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and the Resene paint shop colour directory. My mind is boggled and I await the next two books with great anticipation and impatience. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 211 (next | show all)
In structure, Shades of Grey moves like most other books in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, but in tone, it has more in common with comic novels such as Catch-22.
Fforde is an author of immense imagination. Not satisfied with just a few layers of Dickensian jokes and revisions of the physical universe, he creates an archeological treasure trove for readers.
All this is serenely silly, but to dispel a black mood and chase away the blues, this witty novel offers an eye-popping spectrum of remedies.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (Dec 15, 2009)
It's all brilliantly original, lf his complex world building sometimes slows the plot and the balance of silly and serious is uneasy, we're still completely won over.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Keir Graff (Dec 15, 2009)
Eddie navigates a vividly imagined landscape whose every facet is steeped in the author's remarkably detailed color scheme. Sometimes, though, it's hard to see the story for the chromotechnics.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 23, 2009)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jasper Ffordeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garduno, KenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagin, DanielDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, StevenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is no light or colour as a fact in external nature. There is merely motion of material...When the light enters your eyes and falls on the retina, there is motion of material. Then your nerves are affected and your brain is affected, and again this is merely motion of material...The mind in apprehending experiences sensations which, properly speaking, are qualities of the mind alone. —Alfred North Whitehead
Welcoming you to the undeniably
enjoyable and generally underrated
sense of being known as existence
First words Males are to wear dress code #6 during inter-Collective travel. Hats are encouraged but not mandatory.
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 Oxbloods and join their dynastic string empire. But that was four days ago, before I met Jane, retrieved the Caravaggio and explored High Saffron. So instead of enjoying aspirations of Chromatic advancement, I was wholly immersed within the digestive soup of a yataveo tree. It was all frightfully inconvenient.
Apart we are together.
Last words
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Welcome to Chromatacia, where the Colortocracy rules society through a social hierarchy based upon one's limited color perception. In this world, you are what you can see.

But Eddie Russet wants to move up. When he and his father relocate to the backwater village of East Carmine, his carefully cultivated plans to leverage his better-than-average red perception and marry into a powerful family are quickly upended. Eddie must contend with lethal swans, sneaky Yellows, inviolable rules, an enforced marriage to hideous Violet deMauve, and a risky friendship with an intriguing Grey named Jane who shows Eddie that the apparent peace of his world is as much an illusion as color itself. Will Eddie be able to tread the fine line between total conformity—accepting the path, partner, and career delineated by his hue—and his instinctive curiosity that is bound to get him into trouble?
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670019631, Hardcover)

From the bestselling author of Thursday Next—a brilliant new novel about a world where social order and destiny are dictated by the colors you can see

Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds. In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color—but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means.

Eddie's world wasn't always like this. There's evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion.

Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.

Stunningly imaginative, very funny, tightly plotted, and with sly satirical digs at our own society, this novel is for those who loved Thursday Next but want to be transported somewhere equally wild, only darker; a world where the black and white of moral standpoints have been reduced to shades of grey.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Welcome to Chromatacia, where for as long as anyone can remember society has been ruled by a Colortocracy. Social hierachy is based upon one's limited color perception. society is dominated by color. In this world, you are what you can see, and Eddie Russett, a better-than-average red perception wants to move up.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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