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Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron

by Jasper Fforde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shades of Grey (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,8312572,748 (4.08)1 / 408
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)
  1. 150
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (shallihavemydwarf)
  2. 102
    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. 86
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Othemts)
  6. 11
    The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (ahstrick)
  7. 12
    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. 16
    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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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Fforde Ffans: Shades of Grey19 unread / 19krazy4katz, March 2012

» See also 408 mentions

English (253)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (257)
Showing 1-5 of 253 (next | show all)
i spent the first 30-40 pages of this book wondering if i hated it. i didn't think i hated it, but the premise was so complete, and intense, and hard to find an access point into, and some of the humor that came out of that premise was so ... hokey, or at the very least painfully self-aware, that i thought maybe i should just give up. i didn't want to give up, and i didn't want to hate it, so i kept at it.

and, oh my, am i ever glad i did. wonderfully, all that color theory i had to learn in photography class really came in handy as i slowly got sucked into this story of a society with a strict class hierarchy based on which color people can see. the "hero" is a young man whose age i spent half the novel trying to figure out. his choices sometimes betrayed a frustrating naivety, which clashed with his seeming piles wisdom at other times. this took me out of the story a little, as did a few other points where i found myself saying, "aw! C'MON!" at choices the author had made, but overall it was really good, and worth getting through.

aside from the complications of the world itself, fforde does not pander to the lowest common denominator, and answers are not given freely. or, often, answers are given freely, but only after he makes you think about it for a page or two. so, in many ways this book makes you use your brain. i feel like i should be given a diploma for finishing, actually.

sadly, this will someday be a trilogy, so many questions are left unanswered (who else is in the attic? that's driving me crazy).

PS. i think i started to like this book about the time it started affecting my DREAMS. ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
I had a very hard time getting into this book. I don't know if it was just the the audio (not a fan of audio fiction unless its full cast) or the writing, but I was just not interested. About 2/3 of the way through I did begin to enjoy the book and not skip it and move on to a podcast. Eventually I started to care about the characters and then I found out its been almost a decade and the sequel isn't out yet. Sigh. Maybe I'll switch from sci-fi to romance. They always seem to have their sequels out. ( )
  LeBleuUn | Nov 14, 2021 |
i absolutely LOVED this book when i was 14. what an imaginative universe !
  madelinemar | Aug 16, 2021 |
Jasper Fforde has created a richly imagined future that revolves entirely around color, including social standing. Protagonist, Eddie Russett, is a Red: a fine, upstanding young man who wants the best for people. He is easy going and makes friends easily. When he and his father are sent to a remote town because of a mysterious death, Eddie means Jane, who is smart, knowledgeable, volatile, emotional, and ... threatens to kill him. The highlight of the book is their dynamic relationship, and trying to make sense out of strange events. 2.5 stars, rounded up.
( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
A beloved favorite of mine which reads as though Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett had teamed up to write a dystopian novel. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Jun 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 253 (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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fforde, Jasperprimary 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.
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Wikipedia in English


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.

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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?
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Average: (4.08)
0.5 1
1 11
1.5 2
2 29
2.5 16
3 160
3.5 52
4 412
4.5 82
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