Customer Reviews for

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 237 )
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(125)

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(70)

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(29)

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(7)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A Book Nerd's Dream!

When I first picked up The Eyre Affair, I had no idea what to expect, other than friends saying I would love it. Well, they were right!
Jasper Fforde creates this amazing world of a very strange 1980's England, where the door-to-door proselytizers are Baconians, trying...
When I first picked up The Eyre Affair, I had no idea what to expect, other than friends saying I would love it. Well, they were right!
Jasper Fforde creates this amazing world of a very strange 1980's England, where the door-to-door proselytizers are Baconians, trying to convince you that it was Francis Bacon who was responsible for the works under "his pen name", Shakespeare. Oh, and time travel is a matter of fact, the Crimean War is still being waged, and dirigibles are the way to travel the sky!
The story woven in, around, and because of this world had me hooked pretty quickly. Mixing my knowledge of literature with this topsy-turvy world of literary detectives, Fforde captures the imagination and doesn't let it go!
Before I finished reading it, I went and bought all of his other works. It's become the first book I suggest and the one that I haven't stopped talking about yet! Go read it!

posted by LinusRenee on April 9, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Great Premise, Not So Great Execution

I liked this and I'm glad I read this--but I expected to love it, and I didn't and won't be reading more of Fforde. The book has a fantastic core premise: fictional characters can drop into the real world and intervene in lives; real people can drop into works of fictio...
I liked this and I'm glad I read this--but I expected to love it, and I didn't and won't be reading more of Fforde. The book has a fantastic core premise: fictional characters can drop into the real world and intervene in lives; real people can drop into works of fiction and refashion the story. The heroine, Thursday Next, is a member of Special Operations 27--currently she's on the heels of a criminal mastermind who is murdering and kidnapping fictional characters--including the beloved Jane Eyre.

This isn't the only narrative strand--the novel is set in an alternate universe where a lot of the history we know happened differently. (Time travel is a fact in this world and the timeline it seems continually tweaked by operatives.) In this novel the Crimean War has been going on for 131 years--Thursday is a veteran of that war and it pops up and intertwines in the plot in a clever way. There's also text-eating bookworms, extinct creatures brought back to life to be made into pets--like Thursday's dodo, productions of Richard III done a la The Rocky Horror Picture show and people debate questions of text and authorship with all the fervor of religious disputes.

The book should be a bibliophile's dream with a wealth of literary allusion and word play--a blurb from <i>The Wall Street Journal</i> on the cover calls it a blend of "Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawkings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and maybe that's the problem for me. It's too manic--too many disparate elements thrown at me even if a great deal of the threads come together at the end. Maybe it's just that I can never quite disappear into this world. Harry Potter is easier. Believe that you can pass through a barrier at Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station into a world of witches and wizards and you're pretty OK from there. People still act like people. But a world where literature is cared about with such zeal is harder.

I also don't feel parts are all that well-written. Almost all of <i>The Eyre Affair</i> is written in first person, but there are patches of third person and third-person like narration and it's not transitioned well. I remember a particularly clunky scene where Thursday talks about her encounter with her nemesis, Hades Archeron, and other parts of the narrative seem clumsy as well.

It's an imaginative story, well-plotted, and I liked Thursday Next, the main narrator of the story. Yet somehow, I found too much of this novel a chore to read to recommend enthusiastically or want to follow more of Thursday's adventures.

posted by Lisa_RR_H on July 4, 2010

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hugely fun, but not for everyone

    You have to be willing to go with the flow, because the time warps and twists in this series are imaginative. This is a book for readers -- the more literature you've read, the more you'll appreciate the humor that other readers won't even notice. Some events are shocking, as you get lulled into thinking this is a light comedy of errors. It has the feel of a show ride in Disneyland .... lots of wonder, some thrills, and a few laughs as well.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    Sci-fi for English nerds

    A wonderfully clever novel -- this is definitely something any lit-nerd out there should look into! Though I think Fforde could use some work on his pacing, ultimately his plot was inventive, funny and exciting and the world that he writes is extremely well-created. Thursday is engaging, and not too feminine-- male readers could also relate well to her, I'm assuming. I'm looking forward to picking up the next one in the series!

    Read my full review of this and other novels at: http://litelephant.wordpress.com

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Worlds apart...

    The "genre" for this book is near unclassifiable. It has much that Science Fiction fams will enjoy, but then its fun increases for those well read in "literature". Equally some of it is fun in the best possible sense of "silly" (I particularly liked the pet Dodo).<BR/><BR/>As with other loosely related stories that cover multiple books, you can read them out of order. However in this case I would recommend starting with this one - the first Thursday Next story. If you like it then you have the added pleasure of knowing there are more in store...

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Fun, light, plot-driven read for the classic lit AND time-travel fan

    I guess "steampunk" means: time/ dimensional travel, revisions of history, Ministry of Magic-esque agencies, war vets, classical literature, jokes that only Shakespeare scholars (not even just your average Shakespeare nerds) get, extinct animal cloning, plot-heavy stories, and big baddies named after the river to the underworld (not THAT river, the OTHER river)...then I like steampunk.

    I picked this off a recommended reading list for the steampunk genre and - based on the crossover between this novel and my own personal tastes in (see above) everything, I opted that this would be my foray into contemporary steampunk lit. Truth be told, I started reading it in conjunction with HG Wells' Time Machine and flew through this one despite it being three times as long (or thereabouts) than Wells' classic novel. This book is perfect light reading (light and airy and plot-driven and witty) for the fan of classic literature AND time travel. I wrote on Goodreads that it reminds me A LOT of the SyFy television show "Warehouse 13" (no coincidence, I guess, that my signig other tells me that show is steampunk as well). Very entertaining. Love the mash-up-ness of it.

    I will hope to continue the Thursday Next series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair is a fun and exciting book

    Jasper Fforde&rsquo;s The Eyre Affair is a fun and exciting book that is loaded with literary allusions and action. What makes this book so exciting is the alternate reality that Fforde has created: time travels, re-created pet dodos, and jumping inside one&rsquo;s favorite novel, or characters jumping out of their novels, are absolutely possible in the setting of The Eyre Affair. Following the action packed story of LiteraTec Detective Thursday Next of England&rsquo;s Special Operations, the plot is propelled keeping a reader on their toes and dying to know what comes next. Fforde shows intricacy in the novel with the multitude of literary allusions he makes; so many, in fact, that one can&rsquo;t possibly catch all of them in one read. This is a great aspect of the book because one can read the novel over and over again and find something new giving one a completely different experience. The book will never get boring!

    The only critique I have of the novel is the fairytale happy ending. There was so much action at the end of the novel it was great! But with that action there came an ending that to me seemed too good to be true. After ten years of not talking, Landen and Thursday just all of a sudden say &ldquo;let&rsquo;s get married?&rdquo; That is very impractical and I feel like it was only thrown in so that the issue and drama of their relationship would be settled. It was as though at the end everything in the plot was closing, so Fforde felt he had to give closure to that too. It was almost like he ran out of ideas so he had the two get married. But it could be seen that just like after Rochester and Jane of Bronte&rsquo;s Jane Eyre after a long separation still loved each other and were married, so also is the case for Thursday and Landen, even though it seems a little too fairytale.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2012

    Jasper Fforde’s novel, The Eyre Affair is an exciting and

    Jasper Fforde&rsquo;s novel, The Eyre Affair is an exciting and entertaining read. This book breaks the typical genre mold and creates it&rsquo;s own fantasy-fiction realm that readers soon fall in love with. Perhaps the most exciting accomplishment within the novel is the fact that literary characters jump from the pages of their novel, and real life characters jump into the pages of literary texts. In this alternative realm time can stand still, cloning is common and literature is held at a much higher standard. The protagonist of the novel, the independent and dynamic, Thursday Next, is reminiscent of the famous Jane Eyre in Charlotte Bronte&rsquo;s novel. Accordingly, the novel Thursday jumps into is actually Jane Eyre. Thursday&rsquo;s character is likeable and she captures the reader&rsquo;s attention. This novel has the reader closely examining each page to find any literary illusion Fforde has included and hidden within.
    One downfall however is the fact that starting the novel takes a bit of patience. It feels as though Fforde is constantly including literary references which overwhelms any reader who is not comfortable with a plethora of literature. Despite the rough beginning, The Eyre Affair calms down quite quickly and readers are able to enjoy the story. It can be considered a light, but interesting read. I enjoyed reading Fforde&rsquo;s novel and recommend the book to anyone - especially a literature lover. I am truly excited to read the remaining books in Fforde&rsquo;s Thursday Next series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    For Literacy Nerds Everywhere

    The Eyre Affair was nothing like I originally expected it to be. Considering it was assigned as a required book for one of my college English classes I didn¿t expect a science fiction detective story laced with many English references and funny wordplay, which is exactly what this book delivers. I thoroughly enjoyed The Eyre Affair, it was a quick read containing many different elements that I personally enjoy. There are numerous references to famous works of literature (the general society, belief systems, and names), time travel, werewolf and vampire hunting, romance, mystery, and just plain humor. I enjoyed the way the book contained so many different elements, but it may be difficult, confusing, or irritating to others who don¿t care to follow such a style. Due to the myriad number of references in this book some can get lost as well, but if you are willing to take the time to figure them out, or you are enough of a literary geek like myself to understand most of them, they are quite satisfying and humorous to read. Finally, with a title like The Eyre Affair there has to be some storyline involving the story of Jane Eyre right? Of course it does, however you don¿t actually get into the real meat of that story until about halfway through the book, which was surprising to me. When the narrative does start to involve the world of Jane Eyre, the book really takes off. The plot moves along at a fast pace that caused me to not want to put the book down. I found myself wanting to read more about the adventures of Thursday Next at the end of the novel, and was very pleased to see the book was part of a series. Overall, The Eyre Affair is a funny, fun read that can appeal to up and coming literature lovers as well as hold the attention for those who know the classics by heart.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    Refreshingly Fun!

    Jasper Fforde¿s The Eyre Affair is easily one of the most refreshing novels I have had the chance to read this year. The plot is smart, yet not so mundane that it alienates itself from any particular audience. With a novel steeped in such classical literary figures Fforde could have easily gone overboard in his approach, but it is obvious that he doesn¿t take himself too seriously. Fforde is not trying to replicate the appeal of Jane Eyre or Dickens, but is instead simply paying homage to the greats. I find it to be a wonderful tribute to the great works that have shaped the literary world, and an interesting peek into a society that holds literature in such esteem. It¿s a successful balance of literary puns and suspense; a cooperative effort of hidden cameos and romance.
    To deconstruct The Eyre Affair for all that it doesn¿t do would really take away from all that it does accomplish. There is a question of how far Fforde¿s demographic reach really is, and a question of whether this novel belongs in the ¿young adult¿ section of bookstores. I believe that such black and white categorization isn¿t necessary or appropriate where The Eyre Affair is concerned. They way Fforde arranges the narrative, with time hopping epigraphs and descents into the classic text themselves, create a complexity that can keep any reader engaged. Although the plot unravels pretty quickly and the character development is somewhat shallow, it is easily redeemed by its sheer inventiveness. The idea of basing a novel around the inner-workings of the narrative itself is engaging and original.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    Quirky anf fun!!

    One of my daughter's friends lent me her copy of this book the other week and she insisted that I read it. To be polite, I read it...and am sooo happy that I did! I've never read Jane Eyre before but after reading this, I'm dying to know the whole story....The Eyre Affair is a funny, engaging, and totally fun ride!! I loved how this story was incredibly thrilling and engaging, while not taking itself so seriously. Loved it!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    Fabulous

    Can't wait to read the rest of the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    A fun read...I don't normally go for fantasy, but the mix if lit

    A fun read...I don't normally go for fantasy, but the mix if literature and mystery kept me turning the pages.

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  • Posted May 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Eyre Affair

    Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair takes place in a quirky, peculiar alternate Earth. He introduces it with short, concise explanations of its oddities, dropping details about its ongoing Crimean War and frequent temporal disturbances, among other occurrences, as though his readers are already familiar with the issues. The effect is a little bewildering at first but in the end serves to envelop his readers within his strange world rather than hold them separate from it. Fforde's love of the absurd is slightly reminiscent of Douglas Adams' work, and his frequent---and frequently subtle---literary allusions are a lot of fun for any literature buff.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    Great for Book Clubs

    This was a fun novel, premise was very interesting. People who love literature would like it as well as people who love fantasy. I will read more of his books.

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  • Posted April 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What a neat & fun way to be introduced to the classics !

    Totally intrigued by time-travel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2005

    So very glad I 'stumbled upon' Thursday Next...

    I bought 'Lost in a Good Book' just because I liked the title and the price (it was a B&N bargin book). Once I realized it was #2 in the series I bought 'The Eyre Affair' and read it first. I loved it! I'm so thankful that I 'stumbled upon' Thursday Next and her wonderfully wacky cast of supporting characters. These books are just plain fun to read. I can't wait to pass them along to my book loving friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2005

    Inticingly fictional yet highly believable

    when i read the back of this book, i got really excited! Imagine being able to jump inside books! Although this book was fictional,the author did such a good job with detail that you feel like it could be real. This is truly remarkable. How many others do you know that can mix fiction and reality so well? Thats right, not many!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2004

    Thrilling Journey

    This was a great book! I was delighted to meet Mr. Rochester. I never have cared whether he was truly handsome or not: he's grand! I wish Jane had been in the book more, but running around on Thursday's shoulder, looking at all the trouble she got into, meeting all the strange characters she met, made up for it. The only reason I gave it 4 out of 5 was because I didn't think all the cursing was needed. It's a great book and can stand up on its own without throwing in the 4-letter words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2003

    A delectable romp in cattails

    Pancakes are snowing from the sky in a land where all that exists are rose-petals and Pepto-Bismol. Don't worry...nothing in 'The Eyre Affair' is quite this commonplace. This book is wonderfully entertaining and highly recommended to anyone weary of the mundane.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2002

    Great, Fun read

    This book was a great read. The pace kept me reading and I finished it in a weekend -- and now I can't wait for the next Thursday Next to come out!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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