The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 16, 2010
Author Jasper Fforde's time in the film business really shows through in the engaging wit and action of his first book in the Thursday Next series, The Eyre Affair. His tongue in cheek humor and the fantastical but somehow familiar world he built near from scratch compelled me to tear through its some three hundred and sixty pages in a manner of a few days, cracking the book every time I got the chance, burning the midnight oil, and on more than one occasion ignoring prior arrangements with my girlfriend to read it. Although some elements come off as rather formulaic and typical to dystopian lit or alternative history fiction, The Eyre Affair has this unique charm all its own and it uses it to captivate the reader in the themes it explores like the importance of literature in society (integrated into the religion, the politics, even the military of Fforde's world), and the absurdity of predestination. There's something in there for everyone: love, war, a thrilling detective tale, hyperadvanced technology, quantum physics paradoxes, compelling if under-developed characters, references to the classics that make you feel smart if you get them and even some fun being poked at the elitist literati (always a good thing in my book). All in all, The Eyre Affair is an excellent story written by a quietly brilliant author not trying to impress anyone and never taking himself too seriously, and thus, it's a must-read as far as I'm concerned.

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