I am not sure if I am in a funk from all the Covid-19 craziness, but I had difficulty getting through The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. It took me 4 weeks and one day to finish it. So was it me, or was the book just not that great? A bit of both I suppose.
This book is a tongue-in-cheek novel. Instead of finding it witty, at times I found it juvenile. The character’s names were just over the top: Thursday Next (the female protagonist), Braxton Hicks, Jack Schitt, Bowden Cable, Paige Turner, Victor Anthology, etc. The plot takes place in 1985 but in a futuristic setting, where dodos are common pets, time travel is possible, some people can enter into books, and book characters can come to life. The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than people realize. Literary detectives, known as the LiteraTecs, investigate crimes involving novels. But with all the high-tech goings-on, Thursday Next and her other operatives still use pagers and faxes to communicate.
By the last half of the novel, I overcame my prejudices and my lack of good humor. I finally settled down and finished the book. The story was imaginative and poked a lot of fun at literature snobs. Thursday Next pursues the evil Acheron Hades who is stealing characters from novels for profit. Thursday is thwarted by Jack Schitt of the Goliath Corporation, which controls all of England. England is still engulfed in the Crimean War, which Goliath Corporation encourages because war is a good money maker. There are plenty of hijinx, villains, henchmen, the occasional vampire, and literal bookworms to add to the action. While Thursday is kicking evil butt, she is also torn over her love for her former fiance, Landon Parke-Laine.
The book is part mystery, part fantasy, and part romance. I guess I just wasn’t in the proper mood for this type of adventure. A good friend who read it years ago absolutely loved it and highly recommended it.
The book was first published in England in 2001 and in the US in 2002. Jasper Fforde wrote a total of seven Thursday Next novels. I didn’t love this one enough to go any further with the series. Instead, I will just back to the mind-numbing news about the pandemic, the economic crash, unemployment, and political bickering. Not really. Next up will be a review of Diane Kelly’s newest novella, Another Big Bust, which I promise will be fun and a quick read.