"Words are like leaves, Thursday. Like people, really, fond of their own society." -- The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
I first picked up The Eyre Affair in a bookstore near Covent Garden. My semester in London was ending, and I was desperate for something to read on the plane. Something distracting, because I hated leaving England. Possibly literary. Hopefully British--just to keep my mind there as long as possible. But above all, I needed something really really distracting.
Enter The Eyre Affair, the first of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels. It had everything I wanted: Thursday Next is part of the Literary Detectives, which means she's investigating crimes against Dickens, Shakespeare, Bronte, Wordsworth... it's an English major's dream come true.
Honestly, I kind of prefer Thursday's reality to our own. People are jumping in and out of books, and I'm always a sucker for literary travel. But even better are the Will-Speak machines, which, for ten pence, recite Shakespearean verse.
Could I please have one of those? Seriously now, could I have one?
It is also wacky--one of those books that is both brainless and intelligent at the same time. Or, as one of the endorsements say on the back: "A silly book for smart people." Completely true. I mean--that is a dodo on a scooter:
It's full of nonsense, humor, hilarity, wordplay. And suspense: after all, the ending of Jane Eyre is at stake... once Jane herself is kidnapped right out of her own book, what else might happen?
If you have room in your summer for one more book, and you're in the mood for an intelligent, outrageous getaway, this is it.
Recommendation: I read this with airplane food my first time... that's not recommended. A good orange scone, that's what I'm thinking. And some strong coffee, or an espresso. Dive in immediately, and let me know what you think.