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By the Chapter, Day 5 | The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde

February 20, 2009

theeyreaffairWelcome to By the Chapter. This week’s featured book is The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde. Sharing hosting duties with me this week is Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays.

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If you’re not familiar with The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel here’s a little background on the book from Fantastic Fiction:

In Jasper Fforde’s Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a 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 and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde’s ingenious fantasy-enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel–unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix.

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First a big thank you to Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays. Her Tuesday and Thursday posts carried By the Chapter this week. She wrote some fabulous stuff that gives the reader great insight into exactly what The Eyre Affair is really about. Me – I floundered along as this was a difficult book for me to generate any real interest in. Please take the time to read her posts along with her Friday wrap up which I’m sure will be just as entertaining. I haven’t read it yet as it’s 1230AM Friday morning and most sane people are sleeping right now.

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I never bash, trash or insult books that I don’t like. Just because I don’t particularly care for a book doesn’t mean the story line wasn’t good or that it wasn’t written well. It simply means that the story didn’t appeal to me. Such is the case for most, but not quite all, of The Eyre Affair. I’ve seen descriptions such as weird, wacky, strange, surreal and so on. To a certain degree they all fit. This book is ‘out there’, a bit on the different side of things and over the top. Just as some movies from the Sundance Film Festival appeal to a certain crowd so will The Eyre Affair appeal to a certain kind of reader. From what I can find this is a wildly popular series and rightly so. If you have even the slightest off base sense of humor you’ll probably ‘get’ this book. And there’s where I went wrong. My sense of humor isn’t very skewed and on occasion I’ve been accused of having lost mine by co-workers who are pranksters.

I found myself floundering my way through most of this book. For one I’m not a reader of classic literature. Let’s face it I read lots and lots and lots of popular, main stream, for the masses fiction. The last time I even went near classic literature was the forcing feeding I received my freshman year of college and I’m not telling you how many long years ago that was. That stated many of the literary references zoomed right on by me. For me it was kind of like British humor – I get the joke 15 minutes after everyone else already has it figured out. That leads to the second wrong turn I took with the book – it’s written by a British author. Well silly me should have known that I’d behind from the start. Already I’m off to a rocky start with 2 strikes against me.

But all is not lost as I really enjoyed the last 4 chapters. Yep you got it – the last 4 chapters of a 36 chapter book. See I hung in there, stuck it out and finished every last page and word. Normally I’d have quit but I had a commitment and I was determined to read to the very end. Once our heroine, Thursday Next, goes into Jane Eyre things actually got very interesting and exciting. Things were happening. I wanted to know the outcome. This is what I wanted the other 32 chapters to be. Just a little tiny spoiler here – Japanese tourists traveling into Jane Eyre. Our hero Rochester giving tours of his home to said tourists when his character isn’t needed as part of the story line. I laughed and thought what fun would that be. Though for me personally I want to pop into Gone With The Wind and have a peek at those beautiful plantation homes, southern belles and devilishly handsome gentlemen.

So while this wasn’t the book for me and I won’t be reading any more in this series I don’t regret giving it a try. If you’re the tiny bit interested check it out for yourself as you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

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If you’ve read, or are currently reading, The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel please share your thoughts with us.

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This week’s reading scheduling:
Monday: The Printed Page
Tuesday: Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays
Wednesday: The Printed Page
Thursday: Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays
Friday: The Printed Page/Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays

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5 Comments
  1. February 20, 2009 7:18 am

    So glad you liked the behind-the-scenes tours! I laughed out loud at the way you said you liked the last 4 chapters of a 36 chapter book.

    So have you read the sequels to Gone With The Wind? There was one by a woman about 10 years ago or so, and then the more recent Rhett Butler’s People. If you wrote your own, would it have Scarlett bearing Rhett’s children, or would they be exploring the Atlanta singles scene?
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    I read Scarlett a couple of years ago after avoiding it for the longest time. I thought it was interesting and a pleasant read. I’m not raving about it but I most certainly didn’t think it was as bad as some reviewers made it out to be.

    I haven’t read Rhett Butler’s People. I’m waffling. Part of me wants to and another part doesn’t. Probably like with Scarlett maybe someday.

  2. February 20, 2009 7:20 am

    I looked it up–the one by a woman is Scarlett, by Alexandria Ripley.

  3. February 20, 2009 4:05 pm

    I also have had difficulty offering up anything but superfluous praise for books I’ve read, something about all the hard work that goes into trimming each page and placing it lovely between the covers that I can’t bear to diss the effort. So I’ve heard others mention the exact thing I’m about to mention, but regardless of repitition, I will say it here because this is where I have experienced myself, in this post of yours: Sometimes the “negative” (if only ever so slightly) reviews help in making a book choice just as much as the positive ones. We have to be honest!! We can say it gently of course, but SAY IT, nonetheless, eh?
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    I actually I did say it I just couched it among the other things in that post. Because it was so over the top, strange, weird, surreal, etc. it was all those things that kept me from really enjoying this book. I could have used less literary references and more mystery, action maybe? But that wasn’t the author’s intention so therefore I don’t fault him. I really do consider this a bad selection on my part.

  4. February 22, 2009 7:52 am

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it, and ever sorrier you felt like you had to keep slogging through. Maybe you should build an “out” clause into By The Chapter, in case this happens again??

    p.s. LOVE your new blog header!!
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    I thought about an ‘out’ clause but in mulling it over I decided I had a commitment as I was hosting with someone else. I think maybe if both parties aren’t enjoying the book then maybe we’d call it quits earlier in the week but Jeanne did such a great job with her posts and enjoyed the book that I didn’t want readers to miss out on her take on it. I’m still really looking forward to hosting People of the Book with you the week of March 16th.

    Dang the WP gurus. They keep coming up with new templates and this one had some different customization features that I wanted to play with. I’ve been wanting to use those books for a while so there they are. It might continue to change throughout the year depending on what they think up next. Enjoy!

  5. February 22, 2009 7:11 pm

    Maybe if one person is enjoying a book by the chapter and the other one isn’t, the one who isn’t should be allowed to drop out if the partner agrees? Although I thought the dual point of view was interesting–we don’t all have the same tastes, nor should we try.

    I also like your new look!

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