Monday, January 14, 2008

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde

Biography : Jasper Forde was born in London in 1961. He worked for 20 years in the cinema industry before taking up writing with the adventures of Thursday Next. Currently he lives in Wales.

Bibliography :
* Thursday Next series : The Eyre Affair (2001); Lost in a Good Book (2002); The Well of Lost Plots (2003); Something Rotten (2004); First Among Sequels (2007)

* Nursery Crimes series : The Big Over Easy (2005); The Fourth Bear (2006)

To find more about Jasper Fforde, go here.


Genre : Unidentifiable, something between fiction, thriller and Sci-Fi

English publisher : New English Library Ltd : 7,99£

American publisher : Penguin; Non ics : 14$ (this edition has a nicer cover)

Synopsis : "Welcome to a surreal version of Great-Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide."

What I think : A gripping novel! Once you opened it, you can't close it before the end. With this book, there's no half-measure. You love it or you hate it. I loved it! The story is totally original, we plunge in another world where you can enter a book like a bakery, you can talk to you favorite characters, and you can listen to extracts of literature in coins machines, you can time travel, etc... On thing is certain, it goes beyond literature standards. To appreciate it, you need to forget all your points of reference in reading, you are in another universe...

Note : I was wondering if Jasper Fforde was Jasper FForde's real name and I found my answer on Amazon :

"I was asked yesterday whether Jasper Fforde was my real name because, the questioner observed, it seemed a bit, well, made up. Okay, here's the truth: It is definitely my name, and has been since I was born. The reason for the double 'Ff' is lost in the mists of time and not, as has so often been pointed out, the result of a forefather's stutter. Naturally, living with a daft surname does mean I have a few stock answers. When someone asks: "Ooh – Fforde, now that's an unusual name!" I generally reply: "Not in my house. Only the other day we had six people round the dinner table and they all had that surname."

The 'Jasper' is a lot easier to explain. I was born in the sixties and it was just one of those trendy names that modern parents gave their children. It could have been much worse. I was nearly called Tarquin. My sister also born in the sixties, was mercifully spared as well. She's a Cressida, which is a lot better than Jocquaminka, a name that was once a serious contender.

While we are on the subject, a 'Jasper' is the slang name for a wasp in Devon and Cornwalll, a National Park in Canada and also a brand of cookies. More irksome is the fact that a lot of dogs here in the UK are called Jasper, so I sometimes claim that I was only named thus because my parents wanted a dog. "I got off lightly," I explain, "if they'd wanted a cat I might have been called Tiddles.""

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