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The Eyre Affair (2001)

by Jasper Fforde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Thursday Next (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,550569294 (3.98)3 / 1157
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.
  1. 422
    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. 2710
    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. 162
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (flonor)
  4. 145
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (sanddancer)
  5. 83
    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.
  6. 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.
  7. 40
    Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (TomWaitsTables)
  8. 41
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (ShelfMonkey)
  9. 74
    Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (shallihavemydwarf)
  10. 96
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (lauranav)
    lauranav: The Eyre Affair has a great scene of an anger management session in Wuthering Heights!
  11. 42
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (norabelle414)
  12. 21
    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.
  13. 11
    Schrödinger's Ball by Adam Felber (fyrefly98)
  14. 00
    The Blackouts by Robert Brockway (TomWaitsTables)
  15. 00
    Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor (SimoneA)
    SimoneA: While one is about travelling through time and the other about travelling through books, the atmosphere of these book (series) is very similar, with a strong female lead and a crazy set of side characters.
  16. 00
    Beforelife by Randal Graham (ShelfMonkey)
  17. 00
    Never the Bride by Paul Magrs (jonathankws)
  18. 22
    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)
  19. 11
    The D. Case: Or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood by Carlo Fruttero (jonathankws)
  20. 00
    The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H. G. Parry (timtom)
    timtom: If you wish more literary characters escaped the pages of their books to mingle in our own contemporary reality, head to Wellington, New Zealand where Dickensian villains might just about destroy everything...

(see all 35 recommendations)


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English (552)  French (6)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (568)
Showing 1-5 of 552 (next | show all)
I was disappointed by this book. The premise had such promise. But rather than literary wit, it offers literary (and not-so-literary) gags. It lacks the charm and depth of, say, a Douglas Adams or Christopher Moore novel. An entertaining read, but I won't be reading the others in the series. ( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
Thursday Next's England has magic and imagination, but I was disappointed overall. The basic plot is that an evil guy, aptly named Archeron Hades, has stolen a Dickens manuscript and is changing the book by removing characters. There was also some significant interaction with the characters in Jane Eyre. Creative, right? Lead character, Thursday Next, is a special operative in the literary division. Her co-workers and family, especially her time-travelling father, minister brother, and inventor uncle were fun, but her romantic interlude was dreadful. There were too many characters and the pace was too slow. My favorite parts were the weekly drama performances of Richard III in Swindon, with audience participation (think Rocky Horror Picture Show), and I liked the sophomoric character names, like Jack Schitt and Paige Turner. I will look to other Fforde books, bot this series. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Oh, this book was quite thrillin, in a laid-back, topsy-turvy, read-other-books sort of way, and I loved it. ( )
  Conni_W | Jul 7, 2021 |
This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Susan Duerden. She was ok, but not a favorite. My biggest issues were with her voicing of some of the male characters. There were some who registered in my ears more like “little old lady” than anything else. Then there were one or two who didn’t sound at all male to me (not even “female pretending to be male”), yet sometimes she would follow up their dialogue with a more male sounding “he said” (or similar) than what she had used in the actual dialogue.

I think it wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound, I followed it easily enough, but there were several jarring moments. I may have had a lot more trouble with it earlier in the year when I had even less audio listening experience.

When the book first started, I thought it was going to be a time travel story. There is some time travel, I expect it will play a larger role later in the series, but it doesn’t take up too much of this book’s plot. It does show up long enough to create a few of your typical time travel paradoxes, but I’ve learned to brace myself for that as soon as I get the first whiff of time travel.

The setting is odd, but interesting. It’s sort of set in Great Britain in the 1980’s, but it’s a steampunky alternate history where literature seems to be of great interest to most of the public and it seems like nearly everybody is prepared to debate the classics at the drop of a hat. History is completely messed up, no doubt due to that pesky time travel, although this story doesn’t delve into that much.

A good chunk of the plot, and the part I enjoyed the most, involves the classic book Jane Eyre, as you might have guessed from the title. It takes a while for that plot to come to the forefront, so it’s difficult to hint at the plot without spoilers. Although I think one could follow things easily enough without being familiar with Jane Eyre, I’m not sure the story would be as entertaining. Also, this book completely spoils the story of Jane Eyre, all the way through to the ending, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to somebody who has plans to read that book and doesn’t want to know the story in advance. There are many other classics mentioned also, and a lot of discussion about William Shakespeare, but Jane Eyre has the biggest impact on the plot. Or it might be more accurate to say, the plot has the biggest impact on Jane Eyre.

I wasn’t sure about this book at first. The first half was slow for me, and I got restless listening to it, especially after the previous two audiobooks that I’d enjoyed so much. It grew on me though, and I really enjoyed the Jane Eyre parts. I especially loved the moment when I finally understood how the events in this book and the real ending of Jane Eyre were going to tie together, and I had fun seeing all of that play out as expected. The part in my spoiler tags earned this book an extra half star.

There were other fun parts to the story, including the literary references when I understood them. I’m glad I didn’t read this a few years ago when I had fewer classics under my belt. The characters were ok. I liked the main character, but wasn't attached. The bad guys were the over-the-top, moustache-twirling sorts. There is an obnoxiously angsty romance that did nothing for me except annoy me, and I didn’t think it did anything for the story. It didn’t take up too much page time, though. The main story is wrapped up well enough without any cliff hangers or major open questions, but there are a couple of big dangling threads.

I’m rating this at 3.5 stars and rounding down to 3 on Goodreads. I’m marking it as a “maybe” for following up in print. It’s an interesting setting and the writing shows promise, but I have a lower tolerance for time travel illogic which I expect to play a larger role in future books, and I’m not sure the setting itself wouldn’t get tiresome before long. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Jun 16, 2021 |
The premise seemed like something I would enjoy, but the execution was a little too bananas for my liking. There were a handful of pleasing elements--the wild Baconians and the John Milton convention, for examples. And, yes, for anyone who has read Jane Eyre, this is a cool ad extra tie-in. Overall, however, it served only to while away a couple hours on my long flight. ( )
  chrisvia | Apr 29, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 552 (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, Jasperprimary 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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