Have you ever wanted to jump inside your favorite book? In The Eyre Affair, heroine Thursday Next is able to do just that. In a universe parallel to our own in which fantastic feats such as time travel are possible, literature is highly prized. Thursday is a literary detective and as the story begins, her job is to determine who stole the seemingly “un-stealable” manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit, by Charles Dickens. The chief suspect is Acheron Hades, one of Thursday’s former professors and a man with many powers at his disposal. He does not show up on film, and as such, few know what he looks like. As Thursday has met him, she becomes a vital member of the team to eliminate Hades.
In the course of the investigation Thursday is injured during a run-in with Hades, and is rescued by Edward Rochester of Jane Eyre. Strangely, this is not the first time she has met Rochester. Thursday has a largely untapped ability to book-jump, or enter books and interact with those who, to most people, are simply fictional characters. Her adventures in the book world are only beginning, however, as Hades plans progress beyond Martin Chuzzlewit to an even more beloved piece literature (albeit one with a very different ending than the version in our reality).
There are wonderful added elements to this story, and the parallel universe truly comes alive with Fforde’s attention to detail. Thursday is a veteran of the Crimean War, which has been going on for over a hundred years, and she has a pet dodo she created with an at-home cloning kit. There are hundreds of “John Miltons” and “Percy Shelleys” who have taken the names of their favorite authors, and Richard III is performed regularly in an interactive manner similar to our reality’s showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is a rich fantasy world similar enough to our own to enjoy the humor and tongue-in-cheek references scattered throughout the book, and best of all there are four other books in the series to enjoy!
Check the WRL catalog for the availability of The Eyre Affair.