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View Full Version : The Eyre Affair (please, no spoilers)



licity-lieu
05-25-2007, 10:41 AM
Author: Jasper Fforde

After buying this book on a whim I'm now...well puzzled (and perhaps a bit thick ;) ). So help me out guys. Is this book supposed to be badly written? because with lines like 'I queried inquisitively' and 'he replied slightly shakily' it has to be a joke, right? This book has rave reviews and even one says that every sentence is like a sly wink. BUT... so far (Ch 6.) Thursday Next is wooden and I'm not sure how long I can put up with the er...joke. So, should I continue?

Anyone?

Cath
05-25-2007, 03:27 PM
It's up to you. If you don't enjoy it, stop reading.

I'll agree, The Eyre Affair is probably his worst book, but I enjoyed it for the off the wall humor and wacky plots, not the quality of the writing.

Jo
05-25-2007, 04:21 PM
You got as far as chapter six? I'm still struggling with chapter one, maybe two, I think, after, well, a few years. It just doesn't hold my interest, even though it came highly recommended by a fellow writer-friend. I'd have to be "in the mood" to pick it up again.

JanDarby
05-25-2007, 07:28 PM
Personally, I thought the author was so wrapped up in his puns and "look at me; aren't I smart to make this allusion?" that he forgot about story and writing craft. IIRC, there was even one chapter, after most of the book was in first person, that switched to third-person, just for that one chapter, and it left me scratching my head, wondering what was up with that.

I jumped ship when I got to the character named Braxton-Hicks (a type of false labor contractions), which distracted me rather than contributing to the story. In contrast, when Terry Pratchett names one of his vampire characters "Otto Schriek" from "Bad Shueshein," I notice it the first time, and laugh, but by the next time the name is used, it just fits the character, who's well-rounded and more than just a joke. Because Pratchett honors story and character, while still having great fun with words.

Really, read Pratchett. Just as smart (smarter, really), with lots of humor, but three-dimensional characters and a coherent plot.

Oh, for what it's worth, a friend who's got a PhD in English Literature just loved the first book in the Fforde series (we agreed to disagree and not mention subsequent books), and he found stuff like Braxton-Hicks to be brilliant, b/c the character was a useless kind of contraction, just like the medical term suggested. But me, I'm not so enthusiastic about metaphor, and I like, well, plot. And real characters, not ones that can be summed up in two words, hyphenated even. In any event, I wonder if that's why there have been such good reviews; the writing appeals to at least some of the English majors who were steeped in metaphor as the hallmark of good writing.

JD

Elektra
05-25-2007, 08:43 PM
I've read a couple of Fforde's books, and, like JanDarby, found him to be too caught up in "aren't I smart?" puns to be really enjoyable. His worldbuilding also left me puzzled. Rules that applied in one novel simply didn't apply in another (for instance, we're told that Mr. Rochester didn't exist before the age of 35--however, we're also told that people can go into the book's backstory. In EYRE AFFAIR, things in the novel can be altered, but in other books they can't, etc.).

licity-lieu
05-27-2007, 01:57 AM
Well, I guess that means that folks either haven't read it (in which case this thread is a great deterrent) or have, and remain silent given that essentially the hype this book has been given needs fuelling no more!

I'm so disappointed. I'm such a tight A*** when it comes to buying books...(the last was a 'Memory Keepers Daughter' ugh!)

So... I make my pledge, right here and now, * grabs some soil and puts blow dryer on hair for windswept look* I will never go bookhungry again!
*cues music as sun sets, weeps*

AnnieColleen
05-27-2007, 02:35 AM
I've read a couple of Fforde's books, and, like JanDarby, found him to be too caught up in "aren't I smart?" puns to be really enjoyable. His worldbuilding also left me puzzled. Rules that applied in one novel simply didn't apply in another (for instance, we're told that Mr. Rochester didn't exist before the age of 35--however, we're also told that people can go into the book's backstory. In EYRE AFFAIR, things in the novel can be altered, but in other books they can't, etc.).


Do you remember offhand where some of the contradictions were? I can't think of any -- though it's been a little while since I read them.

I'm finding that I like the parts of the series that are farther from the real world (Lost in a Good Book, Well of Lost Plots) better than the others (The Eyre Affair, Something Rotten), and the Nursery Crime books best of all of them.

Cath
05-27-2007, 04:19 AM
I...His worldbuilding also left me puzzled. Rules that applied in one novel simply didn't apply in another (for instance, we're told that Mr. Rochester didn't exist before the age of 35--however, we're also told that people can go into the book's backstory. In EYRE AFFAIR, things in the novel can be altered, but in other books they can't, etc.).
My understanding of his worldbuilding was that characters can't ever be younger than when they were created, but they can grow old beyond the end of the book, so I didn't see the Rochester thing as a contradiction.

And the novels can be altered all the way through the series -- it's the role of Jurisfiction to ensure that they don't.

Yes, there are the occasional plot holes or flaws (sometimes they're even highlighted as such), but not too much lack of integrity.

Or perhaps it's just the way I read...

Elektra
05-28-2007, 08:42 AM
Will be back tomorrow with some specifics.

IrishScribbler
05-29-2007, 02:45 AM
I found The Eyre Affair on a bargain book rack and picked it up because of the title (I love Jane Eyre). It took me a while to get into the story, but once I did, I loved it. I've since read his other novels and loved them progressively more.

Maybe it is the allusions/metaphors that I like, or maybe I like the concept of the stories so much that I filled out the characters in my own mind, but either way, I loved his books.

I can see where some people don't--a colleague of mine couldn't get through the first one and we have similar tastes in books--but they're a great escape for me.

Elektra
05-29-2007, 06:05 AM
Sorry, haven't had time to glance back through the book for specifics. But I wanted to add that the first of Fforde's books I bought was LOST IN A GOOD BOOK (BAMM had them all on sale), and really liked it. I think that's why I read all the others; I didn't really like them, per se, but I was hoping to recreate the original magic.

AnnieColleen
05-29-2007, 09:00 AM
I'm rereading LIAGB (courtesy of this thread) & I think I found one you might be thinking of -- adventures in negative page numbers (in Great Expectations). But then I haven't reread TEE recently, so I don't remember the other side of the comparison.

PenTeller
06-01-2007, 08:18 AM
Er, I've read everything he's published. Have to say, I'm a hardcore Fforde ffan here.

Elektra
08-09-2007, 01:18 AM
Really late on this, but...

I've just reread the first three books, and realize that it's the third book that had all the continuity problems. They were obviously things he thought sounded clever, but didn't care enough to think, "You know, this isn't consistent at all with the rest of the book".

IrishScribbler
08-09-2007, 02:35 AM
Interesting you should mention that, Elektra, b/c it was the third book I had the most trouble reading.

Have you read First Among Sequels yet?

Lauri B
08-09-2007, 02:59 AM
Just found this thread. I love Jasper Fforde--I think his books are hysterical.

Elektra
08-09-2007, 04:47 AM
Interesting you should mention that, Elektra, b/c it was the third book I had the most trouble reading.

Have you read First Among Sequels yet?

No, I think I'm going to wait for the paperback. The last two books just weren't worth the hardcover price. A few of his "clever" things really got under my skin to the point where I actually just had to skip those bits (most notably the effects of the mispeling vyrus in the third). However, I'd love to hear what you thought of the new one.

IrishScribbler
08-09-2007, 04:57 AM
I enjoyed the new one very much. It brought in elements of Jurisfiction that haven't been previously addressed, which I found interesting, and I like the way he handles Friday and the ChronoGuard in the new one, as well. I found it interesting. And, as always, things happened that made me go "Ha!" because of what they explained (I won't say to avoid giving anything away.)

There are a few characters I wish had had bigger parts, but overall, I was happy.

Let me know when you read it...there's something I want to get your opinion on that happens quite late in the story.

Elektra
08-09-2007, 05:11 AM
Oh, now I think I have to read it. Can you tell it doesn't take much to talk me into buying a new book? In the meantime, any thoughts on the other four, or the nursery rhyme books?

Shweta
08-09-2007, 05:20 AM
I liked the Eyre Affair quite a lot, but I didn't read it critically.

I don't think Thursday's characterization is really the point, though, so if you find his humor offputting I'd stop, because that's most of what there is to the book.
To the series, really.

I happen to think it's clever, but Authors I Respect Very Much have said he's not as clever as he thinks he is, which might well be true. I haven't reread any of them, so I can't say.

I did kind of find them like candy -- I swallowed a lot and loved it, then got kind of sick of it and haven't picked up the last couple books :D

Elektra
08-09-2007, 05:30 AM
I happen to think it's clever, but Authors I Respect Very Much have said he's not as clever as he thinks he is, which might well be true. I haven't reread any of them, so I can't say.


To me, he's clever when he's not trying to be. Which is often enough to make the books enjoyable, but book-against-wall annoying when he tries to bang us over the head with stuff.

Shweta
08-09-2007, 05:42 AM
To me, he's clever when he's not trying to be. Which is often enough to make the books enjoyable, but book-against-wall annoying when he tries to bang us over the head with stuff.

I think you just pinpointed why I enjoyed them so much and why I feel no inclination to reread. Thanks :)

Elektra
08-11-2007, 03:27 AM
I just read the summary for FIRST AMONG SEQUELS on Amazon. I know this is a really stupid, nitpick-y question, but did he manage to spell the name 'Bennet' correctly in this one? He always spelled it 'Bennett' in the other books, and, being a diehard P&P fan, it drives me nuts.

IrishScribbler
08-11-2007, 07:52 AM
This may be a longshot here, but for any Fforde fans who play World of Warcraft, I've created a guild on Sargeras (Alliance) called Jurisfiction.

Don't know how many of you will know what I'm talking about, but those who do will appreciate it, I think.

Sarita
08-17-2007, 04:22 PM
I don't think Thursday's characterization is really the point, though, so if you find his humor offputting I'd stop, because that's most of what there is to the book.
To the series, really. Yeah, that's the impression I got as well. I find his series quite funny. It's nice to have someone writing for writers or readers, especially those who love the classics. In this day of airplane thrillers, I like the fact that he thinks through his words and charges them with meaning, usually funny. When you read him aloud, you'll catch about 10 more jokes per page. I love that.

Like Shweta, I devoured the books like candy. I grab his new ones off the bargain rack when I'm really in the mood for a funny.

RebelGoddess
04-21-2008, 01:37 PM
Hi all!

My favorite author is definitely Jasper Fforde.

I am completely enamored with his work. I find his novels very well written and his characters extremely realistic.

Has anyone here read any of his novels? If so, what did/do you think?

Racheal

P.S.

His novels are:

The Thursday Next series:

-The Eyre Affair
-Lost in a Good Book
-The Well of Lost Plots
-Somethign Rotten
-First Among Sequels

The Nursery Crimes series:

-The Big Over Easy
-The Fourth Bear

jennontheisland
04-21-2008, 05:49 PM
This is the third time I've heard of him in as many days since a co-worker suggested I read him.

I'm taking this as a sign. LOL

RebelGoddess
04-21-2008, 06:30 PM
Haha, definitely!

I worked at a bookstore for a year and I can't tell you how many copies of his books I have sold.... and they kept coming back for more of his work!

Racheal

Sarita
04-21-2008, 06:35 PM
I've read all of them. He's fantastic.

Here are a few other threads around here that are about him:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65457
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60605

ReneC
04-21-2008, 09:06 PM
He's in my profile under favourite authors. The Thursday Next series is just brilliant.

RebelGoddess
04-21-2008, 09:07 PM
the Thursday Next series is just brilliant.

Couldn't have said it better myself : )

Racheal

Will Lavender
04-21-2008, 10:55 PM
Could you enjoy him if you haven't read the books he parodies?

I've never read Jane Eyre, for instance. Would I be able to follow the first in the series?

Always wanted to read him, but I've heard the books are essentially one in joke after another. I love in jokes as long as I'm in on most of them.

Sarita
04-21-2008, 10:59 PM
I'm not sure, Will. I think you should probably read Jane Eyre before you read the Eyre Affair, in order to appreciate it more fully. Then again, I think Jane Eyre should be required reading ;)

Will Lavender
04-21-2008, 11:08 PM
I'm not sure, Will. I think you should probably read Jane Eyre before you read the Eyre Affair, in order to appreciate it more fully. Then again, I think Jane Eyre should be required reading ;)

Oh no! I don't have many hang-ups when it comes to reading, but I have always had a crude, meatheadish dislike of the moody-romantic English novel. (I do love, however, modern British literature.)

But I've always wanted badly to read Pforde. Love the covers, the titles, the concepts of the books. So I may have to read Jane Eyre.

RebelGoddess
04-22-2008, 02:55 AM
I've never read Jane Eyre, for instance. Would I be able to follow the first in the series? .


When I first read The Eyre Affair I had only read a short synopsis of Jane Eyre.

But since then, I've read it over 10 times and I love it : ).

It;s definitely easy to follow the story becays Fforde lays out for you what you need to know.

Though it's definitely more enjoyable if you have read Jane Eyre, that way you can understand some of the more subtle jokes and allusions.

I'd definitely say give it a try. Worst comes to worse, you put down the Eyre Affair for a bit while you brush up on Jane Eyre (and Martin Chuzzlewit, LOL!)

Racheal

Prog
04-22-2008, 04:38 AM
Yes, read Jasper Fforde. Just jump in. He'll make you WANT to read the books you haven't yet read.

Jasper Fforde is my personal god. His stories, his characters, the Toast Marketing Board, there is nothing that he cannot do and do well. Although the last Thursday Next could have been a little more focused.

I can't believe I just typed that. I must go chop off my fingers in penance now.

RebelGoddess
04-22-2008, 04:46 AM
Yes, read Jasper Fforde. Just jump in. He'll make you WANT to read the books you haven't yet read.

Jasper Fforde is my personal god. His stories, his characters, the Toast Marketing Board, there is nothing that he cannot do and do well. Although the last Thursday Next could have been a little more focused.

I can't believe I just typed that. I must go chop off my fingers in penance now.


You said it PERFECTLY.

And I especially agree with the Jasper Fforde being my personal god.

When I met him, I swear, it was absolutely amazing. haha.

And lets not forget the fabulous Ibb and Obb!

Racheal