Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously.
The Eyre Affair. Jasper Fforde’s first installment of his Thursday Next series was an impulse buy. Lately, everything that seemed interesting are books that I’ve already bought or borrowed so I’m always happy to see something new.
This is a book about books. According to the New York Times review, Thursday Next, Fforde’s heroine, is part Bridget Jones, part Nancy Drew, and part Dirty Harry. I completely disagree. Next, who was born on a Thursday (of course), is utterly different. Unlike other protagonists who do all the typical things throughout the plot, this SpecOps-27 LiteraTec Officer aims to do the unexpected, breaking all rules and stubbornly marching through the road less travelled while managing to keep the reader delighted until the very last page.
Next has her own personal baggage, just like everyone else. She only sees her SpecOps-12 ChronoGuard father during his brief jumps in time, her uncle Mycroft is the world’s most brilliant inventor that he finds himself the target of kidnappings far too often, and her mother paints the bedroom mauve. Plus, Thursday hasn’t seen the love of her life for over a decade. The only date she had in between was with a ChronoGuard who jumped time and returned as an 80-year old.
She battles the perfect villain, Acheron Hades, who has no weakness of any kind and is gifted with supernatural genius and power. Armed with her automatic and pure pluck, Next jumps into Bronte’s novel, rescues the kidnapped Jane Eyre with the help of the dashing and glowering Mr Rochester, changes the face of English literature forever, and wins back the love of her ex-fiance before we could say The End.
And, but not the least, there’s the lovely SpecOps-17: Vampires and Werewolves Disposal agent, Spike, who I’ve fallen in crush with. He has the worst job ever, but that’s a mere detail.
There are existing sequels: Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten, First Among Sequels, and One of our Thursdays is Missing (due 2009). Happy reading!