It’s not often that you find a book that manages to so clearly and distinctly separate itself from the other works in it’s genre, or even resist genre definition. Not all of these books deserve distinction but The Eyre Affair demands it.
Following the adventures of literary detective Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde creates a world that is familiar and radically distinct. Books are rare commodities sought after by the world’s greatest criminals, people go back in time in an never ending struggle to shape the world the way they want it, and the British government is embroiled secrets so massive, it threatens to destroy their reality, literally. Next is charged with recovering Jane Eyre, whose been pulled out of her story and is being held hostage by superhuman villain Acheron Hades. Fforde’s style is light and comprehensive, but can be a heavy-hitter when the scene demands it. It’s no Chaucer; it’s the kind of book you can blow through in a few days with relative ease but unlike other “airplane” novels, it’ll keep you thinking long after you close the cover.
If you love detective novels, literary escapades, and smart wit, then The Eyre Affair is calling your name. A fantasy-sci-fi-detective novel that struggles against the tropes of those genres, it is unapologetic and uncompromising in its wonderfully weirdly world building. The first in a series following Next’s next adventure, as long as Hades doesn’t manage to pull her from their pages first. Literary geeks everywhere, I advise you to give it a shot.