Literary Detectives. ChronoGuard. Prose Portal. Jane Eyre. Pet Dodos. Will-speak Machines. The Crimean War.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is a fun romp. It is part detective story and part fantasy, with just a sprinkling of science fiction to add to the excitement. Although it is mostly humorous, Fforde throws in just a dash of seriousness to keep it grounded. The style of the book reminds me of the science fiction shows Warehouse 13 and Eureka.
The Eyre Affair takes place in an alternate 1985, where the Crimean War is still going on and people are obsessed with literature. Thursday Next, a literary detective, is called in when the original manuscript of Chuzzlewit by Dickens is stolen. A former instructor is suspected of the crime. The story eventually leads Thursday back to her hometown. Thanks to Uncle Mycroft’s latest invention, Thursday literally finds herself in the middle of Jane Eyre, searching for her suspect. Fforde includes wonderful supporting characters: Jack Schitt, the evil representative of Goliath Corporation; Thursday’s loveable but criminal, time-traveling dad; and, of course, an ex-boyfriend.
The Eyre Affair is the first novel in the Thursday Next Series, which just had another book added to it earlier this year. I find something comforting about reading series, and this one offers a nice counterpoint to some of the more serious novels I have been reading lately.