Book Discussion: The Eyre Affair ~CAUTION ~ Contains SPOILERS
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* Am I the only one who, whenever I encounter this name, "see" Rowan Atkinson mangling it in "Four Weddings"?
It really does help to have read a lot of the classics. I truly enjoyed the idea of jumping into poems, Wordsworth being a bit of a lech and just how unnerving it would be to be stuck in Poe's poetry.
I'm a huge Jane Eyer fan, so I wallowed in that bit of the story.
How do you all feel about Thursday Next? I think alongside of Susan, in the Pratchett novels, she may be one of my favorite females, and certainly my favorite female detective.
Tales....you name it...provided the alternate is well-written and holds its own...this one does. alas, i have read no more Fford....;-(
and i am abig Thursday Next fan, solely on word of mouth...i admit it....
That is key for me, also that it keeps the spirit of the original, which this absolutely does. It doesn't have a problem bringing up the problems people have with Jane Eyre, but it isn't disrespectful (is that the right word?) to the original. That's a key point for me in movies as well. I don't mind if certain details are changed, but please don't change the motivations of the characters or the spirit of the book.
*goes to find group therapy scene to refresh my memory.*
Damn... now I'm going to have to get my hands on more of these Thursday next books.
I'm with Jim53 in #3, when I read the whining about the ending to Jane Eyre, and how she runs off with 'Sinjin' my eyes popped. I love how the ending we know turned out to be the altered version. And that bit about no one having actually written Shakespeare's plays during the Elizabethan era was a hoot as well.
Now I have this inexplicable urge to read Martin Chuzzlewit!
I thought his portrayal of the different reactions of individual vets was very good. Some disgusted, some desperate to cling to rhetoric and some just shrug and get on with life. Of course this observation is from a woman who has had little to no experience with military individuals in a close and personal way.
I laughed 'til I cried at the Richard III part. Fforde is a genius for thinking of a Shakespearean play - especially Richard III as Rocky Horror Picture Show format? Absolutely hilarious.
And when Hobbes goes into Jane Eyre to kidnap her and turns to see Grace Poole and says "I want Jane Eyre" and she says "So does Mr. Rochester...But he doesn't even kiss her until page one hundred and eighty-one." Oh! So funny!!
These wonderful creative people who think outside the box like Jasper Fforde and Cornelia Funke, bringing books to RL and RL into books. I love the concept - like the Japanese tourists!
I'll never read Jane Eyre again without picturing Thursday crouching below the window calling out Jane's name.
Did anyone else love seeing Rochester call St. John Rivers a 'gutless pantaloon?' *giggle*
I had the feeling some of the humor went over my head, and some of the allegory didn't quite fit. That could be cultural. I'm not much of a fad follower, so the Rocky Horror Picture reference just clean missed.
The biggest laugh I had over this story, perhaps, was the thought that arose, post facto - WHAT would Charlotte Bronte have thought about the completely lame duck ending for Jane Eyre she was theoretically supposed to have written - until 'corrected' by the meddling efforts of Fforde's character to 'fix' the story?
(Jane whimpering into obscurity, unmarried in INDIA, for gosh sake??? What would have happened to all that unrequited plucky female heroine spirit? The author would have to be brain dead to their own character. Jane in India would have become Something Else, I do suspect, and it would not have been meek.)
That bit had me rolling. Then I wondered how a living Charlotte would have responded to a reading of Fforde's work...a spark for a story, there, to bend the imagination in interesting directions, I suspect.
I have a bit of a dislike for the parallel worlds-concept, but with parallel words it seems OK, now. But it didn't start to roll until about halfway into the story.
Sometimes I do think the funny bits hides the parts relevant to our own world. I for one don't draw a parallel between music and literature, here, but between zealous sectarianism and literature.
I loved how it played with the James Bond/secret agent versus the super-villain trope. Had Hades carried a white Angora cat I'd laughed out loud. As it was I thought the story funny but not hilariously so.
I was a wee bit disappointed by the 'happy' ending. It felt false to the 'successful detective/unsuccessful private life' trope ;-)
And. I think you just posted a spoiler. Don't like that. I don't even read the back covers... A spoiler warning should had been appreciated. Or a more ambiguous wording.
It's the SPOILER thread, but not to the whole series. In other instances we have started separate threads for sequels or series, for those who want to discuss those.
A matter of form.
Anyway, I think the parallel to sectarianism is VERY conscious. I just think it's well hidden behind the laughter, so most people may well not reflect on it at all, only seeing the obvious cover story.
Of course this is part of Fforde's success - different people see different things, and here people of different convictions can laugh together but at different things.
Busifer is right, there's lots of levels here, but I don't think of these books as serious social or political commentary. Poking gentle fun is more like it.
And yeah, I thought the 'happy ending' was a nod to Jane Eyre too, but still...
Comes with mixing a lot of tropes ;-)
I babble, maybe i should stop for now :)
eta No!! sevedra you don't babble - just joining in the discussion - it's great :-)
I hope that Spike character will have some reason for being in the sequels - now his only reason for being was to be able to give Thursday the silver bullet.
You people should keep reading more books in the series.
I'm not sure I get everything Busifer is talking about in #32, but this author seems much like Pratchett to me in his way of observing and commenting on our foibles without harping upon them. Any sort of large organization will have foibles/weaknesses/faults which commentators and or comedians can poke fun at. It's a good time for self-examination, which is why I love Pratchett. He's really very unbiased about whose foibles he exposes. I haven't read enough of Fforde to know whether or not he is the same.
I like the way the ending "explains" what is otherwise a very very contrived piece of unexplained melodrama in the orginal - one of it's many failings. Other than Thursday's whisperings what is the source for that 'Jane, Jane' that she hears ?
I find Fforde's parody more obvious and less prevalent than pratchett's. Goliath and multinational corporations is pretty much his only target. A worthy target, but quite blatent. Some of the later ones pick on religion a bit too, but never quite as blatently.
Be reassured Spike continues to be around in Thursday's world.
How could I have missed this? An Eyre Affair reading group! I've been a big fan of fforde's books for a long time and have even managed to catch him a couple of times giving talks to promote new books, he's as funny in real life!
Are you now continuing through the series and onto the next book in this group?
Don't forget, once you've exhausted the thursday next series you have his nursery crimes books next the big over easy and the fourth bear :)
*wanders off to google for piccies*
Oh. They really aren't that cute. Maybe I want a genetically altered cute one. :oD
"To Hades, the loss of every Felix brought back the sadness of the first Felix's death. On that occasion it had been a terrible blow, not only the loss of a trusted friend and colleague in crime, but also the terrible realization that the alien emotions of loss he had felt betrayed his half-human ancestry, somthing he abhorred. It was little wonder that he and the first Felix had got on so well. Like Hades, Felix was truly debased and amoral. Sadly for Felix, he did not share any of Hades more demonic attributes and had stopped a bullet in the stomach the day that he and Hades attempted to rob the Goliath Bank in Hartlepool in 1975."
It DOES say he's half human, and it implies he's half demon, though doesn't explicitly state it. So how do you all read that?
I agree. It certainly says half-human and strongly implies demon as the other half. Thank you for finding this and clearing the confusion up for the rest of us.
The dodo's certainly don't give the impression of being quite that big in the books!
It was a bit disconcerting to read this after having read another novel later in the series (I stumbled upon The Well of Lost Plots in a mystery book store earlier this year. I kept getting some of the bureaucracy mixed up in my head.
I do highly recommend Well of Lost Plots though, for those who enjoyed this one. It takes things to an entirely different level in terms of how the characters interact with books. I don't think it's the next book in the series though, probably #3 at the earliest.
I would really have liked for Thursday's dad to have been in the book more, I really liked his character.
If you liked her dad, keep reading the rest of the books!
*rubs hand greedily*
Anyone think of other suitable authors?
Rankin, Holt, Pratchett (which would have been my guess) and Willis have all be mentioned so far.
I love the idea of a world where literature is the bee's knees, gangs have developed to support their lit theory of choice and you have to watch out for black market knock offs purporting to be the lost original works of some great author. And wasn't there some kind of protest about the Renaissance? Can't quite remember.
Don't know if I'd like to live there though.
I loved that everyone knows Richard III so well that the actors are chosen from each night's audience and I loved the audience participation.
I loved the behind-the-scenes glimpses into Jane Eyre, the book. Made me think of The Truman Show.
Thursday's happy ending seemed forced to me as well but littlegeek's and sevedra's thoughts that it is to go along with Jane's happy ending helps me to accept it more. Still not happy with it though.
I've been meaning to read the next book, (Lost in a Good Book?) and this thread has reminded me why.
eta: changed punctuation
Jim - I suppose that makes sense, but I don't read books on the metaphoric level very much; interesting thought.