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Jasper Fforde, Copyright: J. Fforde
Jasper Fforde
born: 1-11-1961
in: London, UK

Fforde Grand Central

2001 .|. The Eyre Affair Excerpt from BookBrowse.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
2002 .|. Lost in a Good Book Excerpt from BookBrowse.com
2003 .|. The Well of Lost Plots Excerpt from BookBrowse.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2004 .|. Something Rotten Excerpt from BookBrowse.com .|. Bookreporter.com
2005 .|. The Big Over Easy Excerpt from BookBrowse.com .|. Bookworm's Comment
2006 .|. The Fourth Bear: A Nursery Crime .|. Bookreporter.com
2007 .|. First Among Sequels .|. Bookreporter.com
2009 .|. Shades of Grey .|. Bookreporter.com
Read an interview on the publication of "Shades of Grey"
at Goodreads.com (January 2010).

The Eyre Affair
"The Eyre Affair" (Viking, hardcover, 1st US edition, 2002, read: January 03)
"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 Wordsworth poems, militant Baconians roam freely spreading the gospel that Bacon, not Shakespeare, penned those immortal works. And forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. This is all business as usual for brainy, bookish (and heat-packing) Thursday Next, a renowned Special Operative in literary detection - that is, until someone begins murdering characters from works of literature. When this madman plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel Thursday faces the challenge of her career. Aided and abetted by characters that include her time-traveling father, an executive of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday must track down the world's Third Most Wanted criminal and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide."

The beginning of an interesting new series for experts and lovers of old British literature. Who doesn't know his Shakespeare, who doesn't know who Francis Bacon is and (above all) who hasn't read "Jane Eyre" will be completely lost. Ok, at least he will miss the highlights which make the story so interesting.
Fans of the Brontë-novel about the orphan Jane and her legendary love for Mr. Rochester will get something nobody thought possible any more: A look behind the scenes of Thornfield Hall and a reunion with the main characters which doesn't have to hide behind the original.
But the novel is not only about Jane Eyre. It's mostly about Thursday Next and her adversary Acheron Hades. And a lot of subplots, one of which is the 'Crimean War' where Thursday fought and where her brother died. I think this 130 year long fight with Russia about a small insignificant island takes up way too much space in the story and is tiring. I couldn't figure out why this conflict was so important to the author that he put it in the center so much.

All in all a really interesting story about an alternative world no fan of literature should miss. One really can look over the lenghts of the story. Only they shouldn't reappear in the second part "Lost in a Good Book". Then it would be boring. But the titel alone sounds promising enough to give it a try.
[Dorothée Büttgen, March 03]

The Big Over Easy
"The Big Over Easy" (Hodder and Stoughton, Paperback, 1st edition, 2006, read: March 2009)
"It's Easter in Reading - a bad time for eggs - and the shattered, tuxedo-clad corpse of local businessman Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III has been found lying beneath a wall in a shabby part of town. Humpty was one of life's good guys - so who would want him knocked off? And is it a coincidence that his ex-wife has just met with a sticky end down at the local biscuit factory?
A hardened cop on the mean streets of the Thames Valley's most dangerous precinct, DI Jack Spratt has seen it all, and something tells him this is going to be a tough case to crack ..."

A Crime Noir story about the murder of an egg, playing in a world where literary characters are real. If you know Jasper Fforde you'd agree that this isn't really strange. Its the world of Tuesday Next, but with other players: the officers of the Literary Squad, a group of outlaws of the Reading Police Department. They work on all cases regarding literary characters: the three little pigs who are sued by the big bad wolf, little red riding hood and Humpty Dumpty, the egg who fell (was pushed?) from the wall it was sitting on. Detective Jack Spratt is supported by Officer Mary Mary, a young aspiring police woman who wants to rise the career ladder - at any price. Her relocation to Reading seems at first to be a punishment, but then it turns out to be the chance of a lifetime.

Sometimes the story is a little bit slow but its always demanding. To know literature always pays off with Fforde. There are so many references to works, characters, even to Greek mythology: that what makes Fforde novels so much fun.
In direct comparison I liked the Tuesday Next novels better, but for fans of Raymond Chandler mysteries and Film Noir this story is definitely worth reading.
[Dorothée Büttgen, October 09]

More great reviews from Bookworm's Lair:

Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris - Confessions of a common reader     Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby     James Patterson, 1st to die

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