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The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair (2001)

by Jasper Fforde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Thursday Next (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,915543289 (3.99)3 / 1126
There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is disappointed by the ending of Jane Eyre. But in this world there are policemen who can travel across time, a Welsh republic - and a woman called Thursday Next.
Recently added byrena40, quirkymon, aarongable, private library, allison_s, vernaye, MLHart
  1. 412
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Kerian)
    Kerian: If for some reason you read The Eyre Affair without having read Jane Eyre, I definitely recommend it. It will certainly be interesting to read and is a very good book.
  2. 2610
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (coliemta)
    coliemta: One's more literary and the other more science-fiction-y, but they're both bizarre, hilarious and similar in feel. Most people who like one will enjoy the other.
  3. 152
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (flonor)
  4. 135
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (sanddancer)
  5. 50
    Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce (ten_floors_up)
    ten_floors_up: This and the other books in the Aberystwyth series share a specifically British alternative universe, and a dollop of entertainingly twisted literary pastiche.
  6. 40
    Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (TomWaitsTables)
  7. 73
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (simon_carr)
    simon_carr: Similar light hearted style and 'book travelling' rather than time travelling but chances are if you like one then you'll like the other.
  8. 74
    Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (shallihavemydwarf)
  9. 41
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (ShelfMonkey)
  10. 86
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (lauranav)
    lauranav: The Eyre Affair has a great scene of an anger management session in Wuthering Heights!
  11. 20
    The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (Katie.Loughlin)
    Katie.Loughlin: The two books have very similar flavor, but The Manual of Detection is a darker fantasy novel.
  12. 21
    Who's Afraid of Beowulf? by Tom Holt (Dr.Science)
    Dr.Science: The English author Tom Holt is relatively unknown in America, but very popular in England. If you enjoy Jasper Fforde or Christopher Moore you will most certainly enjoy Tom Holt's wry sense of English humor and the absurd. He has written a number of excellent books but they will be difficult to find at your library.… (more)
  13. 10
    Schrödinger's Ball by Adam Felber (fyrefly98)
  14. 32
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (norabelle414)
  15. 00
    The Blackouts by Robert Brockway (TomWaitsTables)
  16. 00
    The Unwritten Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey (LKAYC)
  17. 11
    Fables, Vol. 13: The Great Fables Crossover by Bill Willingham (TomWaitsTables)
  18. 00
    The Aunt Paradox by Chris Dolley (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Similar style of writing and humour
  19. 00
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume 1 by Alan Moore (interference)
  20. 00
    Never the Bride by Paul Magrs (jonathankws)

(see all 33 recommendations)


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English (526)  French (6)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (542)
Showing 1-5 of 526 (next | show all)
Imagine if Raymond Chandler melded with Douglas Adams to produce a sci-fi hardball detective mystery replete with literary references, and you'd have something like The Eyre Affair. The book takes place in a strange version of 1980's England, where the Crimean war has been going on for over hundred years. The book is not at all academic in tone; it reads like a fast, enjoyable work of popular fiction, but you do NOT have to be well read to appreciate it. The author draws both style and content from a wide variety of popular genre literature. You can find elements of Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Douglas Adams, comic book heroes and villains, Bridget Jones, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more. Yet the work is far from unoriginal; it is precisely the author's ability to pull off this diverse combination that makes the book so unique. Also, Fforde's version of Great Britain and the world is unique and quirky. For the bibliophiles among us, a world in which literature is serious business, where people debate the true author of Shakespeare's plays and hold Milton conventions, is like a dream come true. In addition, he excels at showcasing the ripple effect of events. How would the world be different if the Crimean War had not ended in 1856? Read the novel and see.

In this novel you will find: The "prose-portal" and text-eating bookworms - a combination that can send anybody into a book. Door-to-door Baconians. A Rocky Horrorized Richard III. Riots break out when the Neoclassicists protest the 10-year anniversary of the legalization of Surrealism. Kidnapping a character out of an original manuscript of a novel, and murdering them, in fact rewrites every copy in existence, in a kind of Bibio-terrorism. The ending of Jane Eyre was changed to one that we are now familiar with, sort-of by accident. Extinct animals are brought back by cloning, with further improvements made (i.e., Dodos 2.8). Instead of traveling by jets, people travel by Air Ship. Croquet is the national sport n England. Time travel is a regular part of life. The country eats, drinks, and breathes literature. People change their names to John Milton, and other much-loved authors, out of devotion - which caused so much confusion in the government that these people had to have numbers after their name then, such as John Milton 496. There's a whole section in the police department that deals with literature and literary matters (such as forgeries and their sales). Literary pilgrimages are much more commonplace. Proselytizing groups try to convert others to their beliefs, but with authors and not religions. Religions are no big deal. A different branch of the police dept. is charged with protecting us from various sorts of disasters of time, including the deliberate sabotage of the past. Japanese tourists in the middle of Jayne Eyre. The villain of the novel has superhuman abilities.

The characters in these novels not only relive each telling of the novel they are in, but they remember each telling, know exactly where the story is heading, and cannot do anything to change it. But if say, the story is told in first-person narrative, and that character is not around, they are free to do whatever they want, within the confines of the storyline and characters.

This novel contains multiple genres. It is a delightful, brilliant, alternate world. I also had NO problem with the characters names; in fact, I didn't find them "pun-ny" at all! I almost laughed out loud when Jack Schitt introduced himself, and just adored the way all the other characters names actually meant something else, in our world. (See list below.)

The plot centers around the idea that all books will be changed instantaneously if the original script is changed: All copies anywhere on the planet, in whatever form, originate from that first act of creation. When the original changes, all the others have to change too. "If you could go back a hundred million years and change the genetic code of the first mammal, every one of us would be completely different. it amounts to the same thing." (pg. 208)

Besides this making for a very interesting plot, it is also interesting to ponder this in connection with what a work of art is - in this case the connection is so close between the original piece of art and the copies of it, that every version of a book is changed if you can change the original one, the author wrote.

Fforde somehow manages to combine both the story in the real world (which is the real world but some sort of alternative version of it where the Russians still have a Tzar and are fighting with England in the Crimean War) and the story in Jane Eyre so that the action takes place both in the world and in the book and the story lines in this book - The Eyre Affair and in the actual Jane Eyre are somewhat parallel. (Makes sense? - If not, read the book!)

But what I loved most was the way Jasper Fforde got Jane Eyre to be what it is. In the beginning of his book, Jane Eyre ends differently than what we have come to know and love and when the protagonists - and others, Japanese tourists for instance - enter Jane Eyre, they have an influence on the action in this book and through these interferences, we end up with the Jane Eyre we have today.

I loved the layers of simple, every day actions and conversation that pass through it, and I loved the subtle humor. One does not need to be an English major to appreciate when something is funny in a book. This is also an anti-war book. It's also about the dangers of corporate news, and the military industrial complex. It touches on the relationship of business and government.

My only issue with the novel is that after Thursday’s foray into the novel, which was very original and fun to read, the reader is suddenly thrust into a tangle of loose ends with astoundingly abrupt solutions. Thursday left the man she loves ten years ago? Of course they can get back together on his wedding day with less than a page of dialogue and a sorta-clever-but-really-cheesy plot hook stolen borrowed from Jane Eyre! Thursday needs to escape the Goliath Corporation after she “lost” their leader? Send a car that cleverly deposits her at the closing of another frayed plot string! These things really needed a little more effort, sir. I am willing, out of appreciation for your obvious love of literature, to give the next book in your series a try and hope that it resolves itself in a more coherent fashion.

(SPOILER) But, I have to say that the idea that Jane Eyre originally ended with her marrying (ugh) St. John Rivers, and only through Thursday’s intervention was the novel rewritten to reunite Jane and Rochester, was a stroke of genius. (hide spoiler)

I cannot wait to read the rest of this series, and I sincerely hope these novels are as good, if not better than the first one.

Character names:

Thursday Next (English way of saying next Thursday)

Archeron Hades (Acheron was known as the river of pain, and was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld. In the Homeric poems the Acheron was described as a river of Hades, into which Cocytus and Phlegethon both flowed)

Braxton Hicks (an allusion to Braxton Hicks contractions near the end of pregnancy)

Mycroft Next (Sherlock Holmes' older brother)

Runcible Spoon (http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1228/whats-a-runcible-spoon)

Landon Parke-Laine (in the British edition of the board game Monopoly, Park Lane is the second-to-last street on the board and consequently one of the most expensive. As additions to this pun, Landen's late father is named "Billden Parke-Laine" and his mother is named "Houson Parke-Laine")

Paige Turner (obviously, what it means)

Jack Schitt (Jack Shit, a common American expression)

Hobbes (may be a nod to Thomas Hobbes, the English Philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy)

Tabularasa (Tabula rasa, meaning blank slate in Latin, is the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception)

Spike Stoker (Spike is a character in Buffy the Vampire slayer, and Stoker is of course, a reference to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula)

Alexandria Belfridge (possibly the last name could be taken from the character Miss Melfridge, from the long-running English TV show, Are You Being Served. Which can be seen in American on PBS, on Saturday evenings, right before Red Green and Doctor Who.)

Millon de Floss (The Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), first published in three volumes in 1860 by William Blackwood)

Bowden Cable (He shares his name with the braking cable on bicycles. Another character is called Sturmey Archer, also a manufacturer of bicycle gears)


"So often Mr Right turned out to be either Mr Liar, Mr. Drunk, of Mr. Already Married."

"As the saying goes: if you want to get into SpecOps, act kinda weird."

"My mind was young and the barrier between reality and make-believe had not yet hardened into the shell that cocoons us in adult life. The barrier was sold, pliable and, for a moment, thanks to the kindness of a stranger and the power of a good storytelling voice, I made the short journey- and returned."

"Ordinary adults don't like children to speak of things that are denied them by their own gray minds."

"I shouldn't believe anything I say, if I were you- and that includes what I just told you."

"They had two chances- fat and slim."

"Religion isn't the cause of wars, it's the excuse."

"Without exception they had all been as mad as pants."

"I'm not mad, I'm just... well, differently moraled, that's all."

"Time out of joint; O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right! ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
It is 1985, and in a surreal England the arch criminal Acheron Hades has taken to kidnaping literary figures and holding the to ransom. Thursday Next is a SpecOps investigator who sets about getting everything back to how it once was.

It is a fast paced tale, set in an alternative future, with the Crimea war still going on, Victorian attitudes along with modern stores like Tesco.

It has a vivid and unique story line. It took a while to get into and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would in the end. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Signed by the author (at Borders, 2010-01) ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
pure entertainment ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Mar 18, 2020 |
This book was great instruction on how not to write a book. The ideas are excellent. The writing is atrocious. If only the ability to go into books was real, so I could fix all of the shoddy writing in this one somehow. ( )
  thewanlorn | Feb 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 526 (next | show all)
Fforde wears the marks of his literary forebears proudly on his sleeve, from Lewis Carroll and Wodehouse to Douglas Adams and Monty Python, in both inventiveness and sense of fun.
added by Katya0133 | editYale Review, David Galef (Oct 1, 2008)
Fforde delivers almost every sentence with a sly wink, and he's got an easy way with wordplay, trivia and inside jokes. ''The Eyre Affair'' can be too clever by half, and fiction like this is certainly an acquired taste, but Fforde's verve is rarely less than infectious.
A good editor might have trimmed away some of the annoying padding of this novel and helped the author to assimilate his heavy borrowings from other artists, but no matter: by the end of the novel, Mr. Fforde has, however belatedly, found his own exuberant voice.
THE EYRE AFFAIR is mostly a collection of jokes, conceits and puzzles. It's smart, frisky and sheer catnip for former English majors....And some of the jokes are clever indeed.
added by Shortride | editSalon, Laura Miller (Jan 24, 2002)
Dark, funny, complex, and inventive, THE EYRE AFFAIR is a breath of fresh air and easily one of the strongest debuts in years.
added by jburlinson | editLocus, Jonathan Strahan (Aug 1, 2001)

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fforde, JasperAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bussolo, EmilianoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gewurz, Daniele A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koen, ViktorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kruger, GabrielleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sastre, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stern, LorenzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my father
John Standish Fforde

Who never knew I was to be published but would have been most proud nonetheless
—and not a little surprised.
First words
My father had a face that could stop a clock.
The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think; a bit like a frozen lake. Hundreds of people can walk across it, but then one evening a thin spot develops and someone falls through; the hole is frozen over by the following morning. (Victor to Thursday)
Governments and fashions come and go but Jane Eyre is for all time.
It was a glorious sunny day, and the airship droned past the small puffy clouds that punctuated the sky like a flock of aerial sheep.
He wore thick glasses and mismatched clothes and his face was a moonscape of healed acne.
"You shot him six times in the face."
The dying killer smiled.
"That I remember."
"Six times! Why?"
Felix7 frowned and started to shiver.
"Six was all I had," he answered simply.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where the Crimean war still rages, dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is deeply disappointed by the ending of 'Jane Eyre'. In this world there are no jet-liners or computers, but there are policemen who can travel across time, a Welsh republic, a great interest in all things literary - and a woman called Thursday Next.
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