I finally have a chance to report on the next book I read in my "Summer of Reading!"
This summer project is explained here.
The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde
This book seemed like it was written particularly for me!
It’s witty, smart, literary, and has an element of mystery. There are many literary references (I’m sure I didn’t catch them all), but the main one is, of course, Jane Eyre, which is one of my top TWO favorite books of all time.
There is so much going on in this book! There are fantastical inventions, time travel that has changed the history and governments of the world, a society that worships Shakespeare and other literary figures above all, a secretive series of governmental departments (kind of like if there were lots of CIAs), people with mysterious abilities; I could go on and on.
There is a fascinating heroine: Tuesday Next. She is strong yet vulnerable, as well as undaunted by risks and danger. She takes us on an exciting ride, yet provides us with a love story so we can root for a happy ending.
There are several sequels, and I look forward to enjoying them! I’m not sure that they will feel quite as close to my heart as this one (the only book I love as much as Jane Eyre is Pride and Prejudice), but Tuesday’s adventures are so fast-paced, thrilling, and above all, cleverly written!
What did I love most about this book? I have to single out two things in particular. One is the pace at which we learn new things about this society - it’s exercise for the brain! The second is the giddy joy the author takes in wordplay. It’s clear he loves the way words sound together – and that he expresses that love more playfully than reverently. It’s just such fun to read!
I also loved that Tuesday’s life was mirroring the story in Jane Eyre, even outside of Jane Eyre itself! (Yes, I’m saying that part of the story takes place inside of ‘Jane Eyre’!)
Did I have any problems with the book? Well, in this world, Charlotte Brontë originally wrote a different ending to Jane Eyre, and it’s the characters in this book that change it to the ending we now know. I found that a little disappointing, being asked to believe that Brontë would have written the inferior version. My love for the classic novel is just too strong… It was definitely worth it, though, because the climax is so thrilling! In the end, I certainly didn’t hold it against this book. I still wanted the characters in this book to find out that Charlotte Brontë had intended this ending all along, and the time travelers had changed things, or something, but I admit that this approach made for a rip-roaring thrill ride of an adventure!
The Eyre Affair defies classification. Since it is an exciting combination of action and intelligence, I’d say that its uniqueness is a definite selling point!