By: Andrew Leber, U.S State Department
In The Eyre Affair, author Jason Fforde draws on the entirety of Western literary history to create a fantastic mixture: part detective novel, part adventure story, part romance and part alternate history. Thursday Next is a Spec-Ops Literary Detective in London, England, charged with protecting the public from literary forgeries and manuscript theft. Throughout the novel, she is tasked with trying to outwit master criminal Acheron Hades while fighting vampires, navigating Shakespearian gang wars, and dealing with the effects of the still-ongoing Crimean war. The heart of the novel, though, is when Thursday Next gains the ability to travel inside great works of fiction such as Jane Eyre – only to find that Hades is already there and waiting for her.
Personal Opinion: This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting books I have read in years, and I barely set it down until I had finished with it. Despite the confusion caused by the novel’s alternative-reality setting, Jason Fforde manages to create an entirely believable world without loading the chapters with too much detail. Fforde does, however, draw on British and American literary references for everything from character names to insider jokes, which can make the book a bit hard to follow if you are not that familiar with the right names or book titles. Still, if you take the time to look up what you don’t understand then The Eyre Affair makes a wonderful and humorous introduction to Western literary history.
Recommended for: Anybody familiar with or looking to be familiar with British and American literature, anybody who has ever wanted to travel inside the books they’ve read, and all fans of science fiction
My Rating: 8/10