The Eyre Affair: Thursday Next #1 by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve got a new series to collect! It’s too good to pass up. Here we have an alternative 1980’s Britain: Wales has separated, time warps can open up willy-nilly on the highway, and Jane Eyre ends unsatisfyingly when she travels to India with her cousin St John Rivers instead of (spoiler alert) marrying Rochester. (If you haven’t read Jane Eyre, reading The Eyre Affair may make you want to. I want to re-read it now. Also you should totally read Jane Eyre.) Ms. Next works for the LiteraTec section of SpecOps; her job is to stop the multitudinous criminal gangs from forging classic works, stealing valuable first editions and selling them, or attempting to authenticate forgeries. Classic literature is a big deal in Next’s world. A “literature tourism industry” kind of deal. A “riots” kind of deal. Literature has its own branch of the police force. So does art. So when someone starts stealing unstealable manuscripts from their heavily guarded museums, it’s her job to put a stop to it. The who part turns out to be fairly simple; an evil mastermind named Acheron Hades. The how and why are more complicated. Fforde takes us on a romp right through possible and into impossible before his very satisfying resolution. The Eyre Affair has all the zip and pizzazz of a pulp fiction murder mystery, with enough complexity and references to the hi-lit canon to make you feel smart reading it. Sensitive readers should be aware that there are several murders, gun violence, kidnapping, and reminiscences of a disastrous battle speckled through the text. There isn’t a lot of detail – Fforde doesn’t revel in the gore – I guess I’d rate it as similar to reading a news article about a murder. But in this case once you’ve finished the article the rest of the paper is full of magic, romance and heroism. You won’t be disappointed.

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