The Eyre Affair

Bookhound afficionados will know that I'm a big fan of the works of Jasper Fforde. Having recently viewed his webpages, I was thrilled to see that his latest novel One of Our Thursdays is Missing has shot up to no. 1 in the bestsellers list. It's Jasper's first no. 1 - and about time too! It was great to see that there's another volume in the Thursday Next/Bookworld canon. When I reviewed the then last in the series First Among Sequels, I was convinced that it was to be the final volume. So welcome back Thursday!

This prompted me to re-visit the volume where it all began The Eyre Affair. And it is completely brilliant - hilarious, intelligent, witty, fast-paced, and utterly compelling. Thursday Next, a literatec, in a world that is like ours but not, pursues her own version of Moriarty, from the strange world of Swindon (where dodos have made a comeback, and performances of Richard III have a lot in common with The Rocky Horror Picture Show) to Bookworld; a world where manuscripts can be manipulated and books re-written without their authors' or characters' consent. When Acheron Hades, the big villain of the book, goes too far and holds Jane Eyre to ransom, Next must step in to save the day. But can she re-unite Rochester and Eyre, and re-write the novel without upsetting the Bronte Society? Then of course there's the problem of her chronologically challenged father, not to mention avoiding an international incident with Wales, and resolving her romantic problems.

It's a wonderful novel. Sweeping you up into a dotty but strangely believable world, a world in which any book lover would feel at home, where everyone values literature in just the way you do - and, yes, I would like to go to a Rocky horror performance of Richard III. If you haven't already read Jasper Fforde, do so, but beware - it's addictive.


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