(For those of you afraid I may launch into some oral diarrhoea like in the Pratchett "The Truth" review, do not be afraid)

One of the last reading suggestions someone closest did to me before she took herself emotionally as far away from me as is humanly possible, was Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair". She hadn't read it herself, but had heard it's "as funny as Pratchett". I figured "what the heck", went ahead and bought it.

Reading the back cover blurb effectively sets the tone for the book: It is very weird, possibly the weirdest piece of fiction I've ever read (and I thought Douglas Adams' "Dirk Gently" books were pretty weird to begin with).

The leading figure is a detective called Thursday Next. The place is 1985, but not the 1985 we, um, know and love. It's all very surreal, with fiction and reality intertwining and time being, forgive my Dick-sianism, Out Of Joint. A ruthless criminal, basically, wants to hold Jane Eyre (the character) ransom. The book would never be the same again - for starters, much much shorter. Fforde manages to pull off a story that doesn't really wring the neck of your hanged disbelief, which is a mean feat indeed. If you're as intrigued as I was by this sheer insanity coming across as halfway possible, check the book out.

The blurb on the back, incidentally, also mentions Terry Pratchett saying, "Ingenious. I shall watch Jasper Fforde nervously." Well, Fforde is good, kid, real good, but not quite the threat Pratchett envisions.

And, irony of ironies, the book more or less ends with a wedding. Made me wonder if perhaps there is something like kizmet or whatever, some higher force, fate, whatever.

By the way, that person formerly closest to me would not have liked this book at all, I know that for a fact.

Released 2001, ISBN 0-340-73356-X



Written October 2001


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