Synopses & Reviews
Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit
and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude.
Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids.
Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe. Next up in the Thursday Next series: Lost in a Good Book. Read more about it at thursdaynext.com.
"Witty and clever, this literate romp heralds a fun new series set in a wonderfully original world." Publishers Weekly
"[Thursday Next is] part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew, and part Dirty Harry." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"The Eyre Affair is mostly a collection of jokes, conceits, and puzzles. It's smart, frisky, and sheer catnip for former English majors, a cross between Douglas Adams's A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Jonathan Lethem's Gun, With Occasional Music, with a big chunk of The Norton Anthology of English Literature tossed in." Laura Miller, Salon.com
"An unusually sure-footed first novel, this literary folly serves up a generally unique stew of fantasy, science fiction, procedural, and cozy literary mystery but in the end is more dancing bear than ballet." Kirkus Reviews
"If you have read any of the classics of English Literature, you will feel strangely at home in the action-packed alternative universe of Thursday Next....Hectic, humorous...and most satisfying." London Times
"So unusual you've got to read it to believe it; and please do." The Bookseller (London)
"For five years, I dragged freshman boys kicking and screaming through Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. It was torture part of the academy's "Nip a Love of Literature in the Bud" program. But finally, those plaintive cries have been answered: Through the miracle of literary-genetic engineering, Jasper Fforde has crossbred Jane Eyre with James Bond and Harry Potter....This is about as much fun as you can have in the classics section without being thrown out of the library. To those students who swore they wouldn't reread Jane Eyre 'til Hades freezes over, I have good news: He's out cold. Start reading." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor
(read the entire Christian Science Monitor review
"[Thursday Next is] part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew, and part Dirty Harry." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Neatly delivers alternate history, Monty Pythonesque comedy skits, Grand Guignol supervillains, thwarted lovers, po-mo intertextuality, political commentary, time travel, vampires, absent-minded inventors, a hard-boiled narrator, and lots, lots more.... Suspend your disbelief, find a quiet corner and just surrender to the storytelling voice of the unstoppable, ever-resourceful Thursday Next." —The Washington Post
"Fforde's imaginative novel will satiate readers looking for a Harry Potter-esque tale.... The Eyre Affair's literary wonderland recalls Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers series, the works of Lewis Carroll and Woody Allen's The Kugelmass Episode." —USA Today
"Filled with clever wordplay, literary allusion and bibliowit, The Eyre Affair combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but its quirky charm is all its own." —The Wall Street Journal
"Jasper Fforde's first novel, The Eyre Affair, is a spirited sendup of genre fiction—it's part hardboiled mystery, part time-machine caper—that features a sassy, well-read 'Special Operative in literary detection' named Thursday Next, who will put you more in mind of Bridget Jones than Miss Marple. Fforde delivers almost every sentence with a sly wink, and he's got an easy way with wordplay, trivia, and inside jokes.... Fforde's verve is rarely less than infectious." —The New York Times Book Review
"[Fforde] delivers multiple plot twists, rampant literary references and streams of wild metafictional invention in a novel that places literature at the center of the pop-cultural universe.... It all adds up to a brainy, cheerfully twisted adventure." —Time Out New York
"[The Eyre Affair] is a blend of suspense and silliness, two parts fantasy (think Alice in Wonderland meets Superman), two parts absurdity (think Carl Hiaasen) and one part mystery (Agatha Christie meets Sue Grafton)." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The New York Times bestseller is the first in a series of outlandishly clever adventures featuring the resourceful, fearless literary detective Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative.
The first installment in Jasper Fforde’s New York Times bestselling series of Thursday Next novels introduces literary detective Thursday Next and her alternate reality of literature-obsessed England
Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it’s a bibliophile’s dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde's ingenious fantasy—enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel—unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix. Thursday’s zany investigations continue with six more bestselling Thursday Next novels, including One of Our Thursdays is Missing and the upcoming The Woman Who Died A Lot. Visit jasperfforde.com.
About the Author
Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring vacantly out of the window and arranging words on a page. He lives and writes in Wales. The Eyre Affair was his first novel in the bestselling series of Thursday Next series novels, which includes Lost in a Good Book
, The Well of Lost Plots
, Something Rotten
, First Among Sequels
, One of Our Thursdays is Missing
, and the upcoming The Woman Who Died A Lot
. He is also the author of The Big Over Easy
and The Fourth Bear
of the Nursery Crime series, and Shades of Grey
. Visit jasperfforde.com.
Table of Contents
1. A Woman Named Thursday Next
2. Gad's Hill
3. Back at My Desk
4. Acheron Hades
5. Search for the Guilty, Punish the Innocent
6. Jane Eyre: A Short Excursion in the Novel
7. The Goliath Corporation
8. Airship to Swimdon
9. The Next Family
10. The Finis Hotel, Swindon
11. Polly Flashes Upon the Inward Eye
12. SpecOps-27: The Literary Detectives
13. The Church at Capel-y-ffin
14. Lunch with Bowden
15. Hello and Goodbye, Mr. Quaverley
16. Sturmey Archer and Felix7
17. SpecOps-17: Suckers and Biters
18. Landen Again
19. The Very Irrev. Joffy Next
20. Dr. Runcible Spoon>br> 21. Hades and Goliath
22. The Waiting Game
23. The Drop
24. Martin Chuzzlewit Is Reprieved
25. Time Enough for Contemplation
26. The Earthcrossers
27. Hades Finds Another Manuscript
28. Haworth House
29. Jane Eyre
30. A Groundwell of Popular Feeling
31. The People's Republic of Wales
32. Thornfield Hall
33. The Book Is Written
34. Nearly the End of Their Book
35. Nearly the End of Our Book
Reading Group Guide
1. If you could jump right into any novel with Ms. Nakajima, which novel would you choose to visit? What classic novel endings have left you unsatisfied? What endings would you change if you had the power to do so?
2. Acheron Hades claims that pure evil is as rare as pure good. Do you think either exists in our world?
3. Two of the main plot devices—time travel and book jumping—illustrate the infinite possibilities of alternate endings. If you could travel through time, is there anything in history, either in the broad sense or in your own personal history, that you would go back and revise?
4. If you could choose either Ms. Nakajima's ability to jump into novels, Thursday's father's ability to travel through time, or Acheron Hades' ability to defy mortality, which power would you choose to have and why?
5. Despite the fact that he is her one true love, Thursday holds a grudge against Landen Parke-Laine for over ten years because he betrayed her brother when they returned from the Crimean War. Who do you think Thursday's first allegiance should have been? Her lover or her brother? Do you think her decision to return to Landen comes out of weakness or strength?
6. In the hands of villains like Jack Schitt and Acheron Hades, the Prose Portal could be exploited for villainous deeds, but it could also have been used to do good deeds such as producing a cure for terminal diseases. Would you choose to destroy the Prose Portal as Mycroft does without trying to extract good use out of it first? Do you think the risk of the destruction it could cause outweighs the possibilities for good?
7. Thursday's brother, the very Irreverend Joffy, tells her, "The first casualty of war is always truth." Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
8. Thursday says, "All my life I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve. Few of us have any real idea what it is we are here to do and when it is that we are to do it. Every small act has a knock-on consequence that goes on to affect those about us in unseen ways. I was lucky that I had so clear a purpose." In a world where time is so pliable, can there be such a thing as destiny? Was there a defining moment in your life where you understood what your own purpose was?
9. Who is the worse villain, Acheron Hades or Jack Schitt? Which sentence do you think is worse—death by a silver bullet to the heart or an eternity trapped in Poe's The Raven?