Free eBook The Eyre Affair –

Great Britain circa : 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 timespace 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

10 thoughts on “The Eyre Affair

  1. Patrick Patrick says:

    I read this years ago, I think it was back around 2005 or so.

    I remember liking the book fairly well, even though I'd never read Jane Eyre, and a modest part of the book's plot touches on that story.

    But I also remember being irritated at the book. Something made me bristle when I read it. Some elements of the storytelling rubbed me the wrong way.

    I remember talking to the person who recommended the book to me. I held it book up and said, rather disdainfully. This is probably really popular, isn't it?

    My friend, who worked in a bookstore, said that no, actually, it wasn't all that popular.

    And as soon as she said that, I liked the book more.

    Thinking back, this memory disturbs me. And not only because it revealed a disturbing tendency towards the bullshit hipster I-only-like-things-nobody-else-likes mindset.

    Worse than that, I think it shows that I was getting a bit twisted up inside because of my inability to get my book published.

    You see, by the time 2005 rolled around, I'd been working on The Name of the Wind for about 11 years. 3 of those years I'd had an agent, and had been really *really* trying to get published. And it wasn't going so well.

    Well... actually that's not true. It was going well because I was on the road to being the published author I am today. But I didn't know that in 2005. Back then, all I knew is that I wasn't published *yet* and because of that, I was getting a little bitter.

    Well... to be fair, I was probably more than a little bitter. I was twisted up enough inside that even the perceived success of a book was enough to make it unpalatable to me.

    Which is a real shame, because jump forward to now, and I've been listening to the series as an audiobook and enjoying it immensely.

    It's well written and quickly paced. There's both humor and wit in ample supply. And the world is a delightfully tounge-in-cheek wish fulfillment alternate earth where the entire populace is passionately engaged in literature. There are museums dedicated to authors, political parties court the Chaucer block of voters, and Baconians go door to door, trying to convert people to their philosophy: namely, that Fredrick Bacon is the man who *actually* penned the plays credited to Shakespeare.

    Short version: If you're a recovering English major, or if you're just well read, odds are you're going to enjoy this book. Ditto if you're a writer... provided you're not the sort of twisted up bitter type of writer I was back in 2005.

  2. Jojo Jojo says:

    I had the same feeling after reading this as I had after reading The Looking Glass Wars. Fabulous idea, terrible execution. I was going to give it one more star than I gave that because it's not quite as badly written. And I liked the idea of door-to-door Baconians and Rocky Horrorized Richard III. But I changed my mind because the more I think about it, the more I didn't like it.

    It was so smug and cutesy and in need of better editing. And it would have been better served by not being written in first person, especially since it kept slipping into other people's heads when it should have been in Thursday's. Also, Thursday is really boring and doesn't have an interesting voice, and I didn't care about her at all (and, ick, that moment where she gets out her mirror and contemplates her looks). The same goes for most of the other characters. The only one I really liked was Thursday's father, and he barely had anything to do with anything. And the villain! How utterly boring. Villains are only interesting if they're something beyond mwahahaa so evil.

    And it was just a mess. So much random crap was going on that seemed to have nothing to do with anything. And I could have lived without the romance which was just yawningly boring and tacked on. And the names. Ugh. I wanted to stab my brain out having to read some of those awful names.

    Most people seem to adore this book and the rest of the series, but I thought it was pretty terrible. Maybe the writing gets better in later books, but I don't think I'll give them a chance.

    Very disappointing.

  3. Mario the lone bookwolf Mario the lone bookwolf says:

    Hardly an author has styled the parallel universe tropes with breaking the wall elements to such perfection as Ffjorde did.

    The integration of living literature in a parallel universe as a plot device is ingenious and a potentially endless source of innuendos, connotations, and options for more and similar novels. Imagine the same with video games, movies, or all mixed and it could get big quick, depending on the main inspiration and idea of the chosen genres and works.

    I´ve rarely ever chosen such a comparison, but I would name similarities to Adams, Pratchett, Robbins, and some others because of the humor, character development, and uniqueness. It´s really tricky to get an emotion out of me, but this amazing series did it several times.

    It´s an unconventional piece of literature, a true crossover hybrid that dances at many weddings, integrates, steals, persiflages, and makes me wonder why its quality is controversial. I see very much cherrypicking regarding the often average character and plot development of comedy and fast told stories that are necessary and essential for telling such a piece of literature. It smells for me like an aversion against too progressive, unconventional writing style, because I could hardly name a series that had both such a great idea, realization, and universal acclaimed greatness by everyone I recommended it too.

    If we start bashing each author who dares to explore completely new land of storytelling without getting artistic, boring, Nobel pricy, and bad, but instead keeps using the rules of the telling game in a brilliant new setting, many ideas will get lost. It shocked me to hear how long it took Ffjorde to get published and I think that many of the reasons for it lie in this grievance, in the tendency to troll true creativity because it´s too unfamiliar and strange to read.

    To make it clear: I don´t mean people who just can´t get warm with his writing style, what is a question of taste and personal preferences and completely ok, I am avoiding many genres too.

    I am more referring to people who rate very good, but stereotypical and always the same telling as usual high and are against progressive endeavours. Or the extreme other side, who love and read much high brow, so-called literature, that is often trash in my eyes, but bash popular fiction because of its predictability, popularity, and stereotypes or, if this is not the case as in this case, because it´s different. Nothing to talk about in academic circles, but something out of the line they can´t and don´t want to understand.

    Both groups are enemies of too progressive authors and it´s quite a shame that they, instead of staying in their own territory and not poaching in foreign lands, try out new things and don´t realize that their problems with the writing could be related to them and their subjective conditioning and thereby aversion and not a fault of an author. It´s so clear if someone interested in character-based, 3 setting novels reads Hard-Sci Fi space operas and vice versa, she/he won´t be happy with it and don´t like it because it´s not their thing, but in this case, the own reading preferences seem to have been forgotten. It´s like listening to music one hates and saying that the artist is bad, etc.

    This first part of this series has the only problem of info-dumping and explaining the world a bit too much instead of directly jumping into action, but that´s a widespread issue.

    Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:

  4. J.L. Sutton J.L. Sutton says:

    Really enjoyed the inventiveness of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. The premise of the story is that original manuscripts can be stolen and then changed, not just that manuscript, but all copies of say, Jane Eyre. Thus, these original manuscripts are viewed as absolute treasures. There are also literary portals which intersect with the 'real world' which make it possible to change what happens in our favorite novel. And there's also time travel. And an alternate history which skews how we view this reality about 80 or 90 degrees. In Fforde's novel, our heroine, Thursday Next, tracks down a master criminal, a manuscript and interacts with the characters of Jane Eyre. However, the story unabashedly takes a backseat to literary puns and allusions and simple craziness. The world Fforde has created, a world both obsessed by books and with direct access to books, is a world book lovers will want to live in!


    Sitting down with Jasper Fforde for fried rice, eggrolls and great discussion during a break at the Casper Humanities Festival!!

  5. James James says:

    This book may describe my perfect job goal: to be able to enter a book and meet the characters, ensuring they are following the author's original intentions and not on-the-loose due to some sort of villain. How amazing would that be? Awesome kick start to this series... I read the first 4 then started to get a little disenchanted, but I'll go back one day! All book lovers need to give this first one a chance -- you'll undoubtedly love and hate parts of it!

  6. Danielle Danielle says:

    I've been storing up some venom for this review, so be prepared.
    First of all, I want to unleash my fury on whoever in the Rory Gilmore Book Club suggested this book as February's pick. To go from such a brilliant read as Jane Eyre to this was frustrating to say the least. It highlighted all the amateurish contrivances of Fforde's writing. I rolled my eyes so many times in the first four chapters, that I nearly gave myself a headache. And no, I'm sure it doesn't get better after that, that's just where I officially banished the book from my sight.
    Here are my major problems with the part I read.
    1. Okay, you're enterting this alternate reality world where many things are similar but different from what we know. As Fforde might assume that not all of his readers would be British, or familiar with UK current events/history, perhaps he could have given us a little more to go on, so that the reader could appreciate the weirdness of this other world, without going, Umm...from the way that's said, I'm assuming that's not how it happened in real life.
    2. Thursday Next. Seriously? Thursday Next. That just screams: I'm writing a strong yet lovably flawed female gumshoe destined to drag you through book after book of literary-themed exploits. Her character was so stereotypical I could have written it with my eyes closed.
    3. The time-travelling father.
    4. If a book is written in first-person, and you really, REALLY want us to know what the character looks like, it is textbook cliche to have her pull out a mirror and describe what she sees. Puh-lease.
    5. Finally, the clincher at the end of chapter four (I think. I wasn't paying all THAT much attention), but the straw that made me put away the book for good is that Fforde CLEVERLY (I felt like the whole of the book was trying just a little too hard to be clever) had Thursday narrate what had happened in her confrontation with her nemesis by putting her in an interrogation setting, where she has to tell the police investigators (and us, conveniently) what happened prior to her month-long coma. Okay, that in and of itself is not so bad, what kills me is when the only difference between what she says into the tape recorder and what she says in her narration of any other part of the book is the double quotation marks. Seriously, no one answers an investigator's question of, So what happened next, by saying, 'What do you think you're doing?' I said. 'It's time for me to make my exit,' he answered with a smile. People write books like that. They don't talk like that. It was ridiculous.
    Anyway, I guess I wouldn't be so annoyed with this book, except that it's supposed to be delightful for bibliophiles because it assumes all this familiarity with the classics, yet anyone who had read said classics would inevitably chafe under the obvious inferiority of this freshman attempt.

  7. Cassy Cassy says:

    Have I become a jaded reader? I sometimes catch myself muttering in the middle of a long series of yawns, “Haven’t I read this plot/character/technique before?” Or when the author describes their setting, I will lazily flip through my mental inventory of backdrops until, sure enough, I find an old one that it is a good enough fit to reuse.

    Then Fforde comes along and throws the literary equivalent of a bucket of Arctic cold water in my face.

    I found myself having to actually work to keep up with his creativity and humor. It was one of those amazing reciprocal relationships where the other party’s enthusiasm spurs you to try harder, which encourages them to go further, which forces you to run faster.

    At the same time, I was struck by how nonchalantly he presented the large and potentially confusing differences between our world and his. I also appreciated the attention he gave to the nitty-gritty level of his world. There were details so small that if you blinked, you’d miss them. As a result, I found myself reading each sentence carefully, word for word, and taking the time to create mental images from scratch.

    Here are some rough examples of what I’ve come to expect when I read a ho-hum book contrasted with the twists, both small and large, that Fforde introduced.

    Example 1
    Expected: Her name was Theresa Newton.
    Received: Her name was Thursday Next.

    Example 2
    Expected: Theresa took her dog for a walk.
    Received: Thursday took her dodo for a walk.

    Example 3
    Expected: Theresa boarded the plane for a trip home.
    Received: Thursday boarded the airship for a trip home.

    Example 4
    Expected: Theresa opened the book and sat down for a nice, afternoon read.
    Received: Thursday opened her book and fell into its alternate reality for a few months.

    Example 5
    Expected: Theresa’s dad stopped by the cafe and complained about her mom’s indecision about which color to paint their bedroom.
    Received: Thursday’s dad stopped time to appear out of nowhere in the middle of the café and complained about the new shade of red her mother would paint their bedroom in two weeks time, which he saw when he visited the future.

    You get the point.

    I guess it all goes back to something I mentioned earlier: the reciprocal relationship. There are so many different layers to Fforde’s world-building. And he allows his readers to engage as deeply or superficially as they prefer. If you want to dive in, Fforde has those hidden nuggets for you to enjoy. Or if you want to invest your time just understanding the big points and push past the nuances, you’ll still come away satisfied.

    I’d personally recommend the all-in approach.

  8. Manny Manny says:

    This is so much fun. I want to play too! And, as it happens, I have a surprisingly good opening. So, with the usual perfunctory apologies, may I present

    The Meyre Affair: a Thursday Next story

    The hardest part is telling them they're fictional. After that, the rest is usually easy.

    - Thursday Next, A Life in SpecOps
    I could start this story at any number of points, but I will choose the moment when I knocked on Manny Rayner's front door. Nothing happened, so I knocked again. He opened it.

    The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

  9. Evgeny Evgeny says:

    Buddy read with Jessica, Robin, Catherine, Kristi, Asya and Tanya. I apologize if I missed somebody; in case I did please let me know and I will add you.

    The book version of mid-eighties England is a fine dystopian society. The literature is a very serious business, time travel is nothing of the ordinary which comes with all the fun and paradoxes and cloning works wonders making people's favorite pets out of these guys:
    The heroine Thursday Next is a special operative working for literary detection dealing with such heinous crimes as forging of a poem of a classic, theft of highly valued original manuscripts, and copyright violations.

    What started as fairly unremarkable theft of an original Dickens manuscript turned out to be a work of a criminal mastermind (who reminded me of a cross between Lord Voldemort and Dr. Evil from Austin Powers movies) who will stop at nothing to show the world how evil he is. I will give a hint: when it comes to being evil, he makes Darth Vader look like a daycare thug. Thursday soon learns that Lost in a good book is more than just a nice saying:

    The only reason I rated this book with 3 stars instead of 2 is the discussion with my buddy readers which turned out to be great fun. There were some amusing parts and references with I would miss had I read this book by my lonely self.

    As I mentioned there were enough amusing moments in the book to qualify it as belonging to humor genre. Unfortunately it was not my type of humor. I always found myself unable to laugh at the situations where innocent bystanders are getting killed in amusing ways by the villains while the noble heroes are protected by the plot armor. It is all fun and games unless you happened to be that bystander.

    I found the character of Thursday Next to be quite shallow. I learned that she suffers from PSD: she is a veteran of Crimea War - in the book England is still at war with Russia over Crimea which took place between 1853 and 1856 in reality. Ask me to name something else about Thursday and I will be at complete loss.

    I mentioned amusing moments. They are unfortunately not too noticeable between author's self-admiration of how clever his writing is and countless uses of deux ex machina. The latter was used so freely and often that I could not see the point of the novel until the second half of it.

    I do admit that some of the complaints I made are related to the fact that this is not my kind of book and I understand people who gave it 5 stars. I also admit that I have not read Jane Eyre (please don't hurt me!) and this fact also diminished my enjoyment of it. At least it made me read the plot summary of the classic I mentioned. This is a good thing, right? Right?

    In the conclusion I would like to thank my buddy readers who made the read much more pleasant experience. Thank you!!!

  10. Gail Carriger Gail Carriger says:

    I loved this book when I first picked it up and remember giggling the whole way through. (It was passed over to me by the Mum, of all people. We do not, normally, share the same taste in literature.) It has a charming irreverent take on... well... everything from literature to history. It's set in an alternate reality where literature is, if not kind, at least very very significant.