It occurred to me that although some people have already heard of Jasper Fforde and his novel, The Eyre Affair, perhaps not many are aware that the other books in the series are likewise Bronte-infused, although not to the same degree. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, why here is the back cover copy from the British/Canadian edition of The Eyre Affair I have right here:
There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where Thursday Next is a literary detective without equal, fear, or boyfriend. Thursday is on the trail of the villainous Acheron Hades who has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. Jane Eyre herself has been plucked from the novel of the same name, and Thursday must find a way into the book to repair the damage.
She also has to find time to halt the Crimean conflict, persuade the man she loves to marry her, rescue her aunt from inside a Wordsworth poem and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare's plays. Aided and abetted by a cast of characters that includes her time-travelling father, Jack Schitt of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, a pet dodo named Pickwick and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday embarks on an adventure that will take your breath away.
It's a truly delightful book. Just a lot of fun, especially for someone like me who loves intertextuality. Fforde has created, in the 'Thursday Next' series, a world where the world of fiction is as real as anything else. Where 'backstories' are created and sold in 'the well of lost plots' inside 'the book world' (our world is the 'Outland'). When these two worlds collide, Mr Rochester can save the day in more ways than one, fictional characters can try to take over England, and... platypodes (-pi, if you like) are revealled to be fictional. Escapees, you know- 'pagerunners'. Nothing that silly looking can possibly be natural.
There are three other books in the series: Lost in a Good Book, Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten. If memory serves, there's something in all but the last book to delight Bronte fans. Even small references are enough to make me smile (just a hint, keep a sharp eye for the Gondal reference!). You'll get no spoilers here, you'll simply have to read the books yourself!
Oh, but that's not all! The books have inspired some fan tributes at Jasper Fforde's website. One of these is a cute little tale called 'The Brontes at Home' by Jon Brierley.
Sunday, November 20, 2005