Book Review: The Eyre Affair

eyre affair

I wanted to like this book.

I truly did.  It sounds like the kind of book that I could really enjoy, and read the sequels with delight.  This is the library catalog’s synopsis:

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. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that’s just a prelude . . . Hades’ real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it’s not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte’s novel. Enter Thursday Next. She’s the Special Operative’s renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft’s Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It’s tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte’s masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . . Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe. Next up in the Thursday Next series: Lost in a Good Book. Read more about it at thursdaynext.com.

See?  Doesn’t it sound wonderful?  I was itching to pick it up off my stack, and opened it eagerly.  It was confusing from the start, but I kept after it, sure that it would start making sense to me soon—some books just take a while to sort themselves out, you know?  So, I kept slogging away, hoping to get caught up at any time.

It didn’t happen.

I started finding reasons not to read.  I only read one book at a time, generally, so this is borderline tragic for me, especially since I’ve had a summer cold for a week and been working valiantly to keep my recliner from floating off into space.  What better time for a good read?  Instead, I watched the entire 4th season of Justified online, and a large chunk of the first season of Star Trek: Next Generation for nostalgia’s sake.  Instead of a book, I cradled a box of Kleenex in my feverish little hands.

The Eyre Affair was a bust.  The characters were a bit wooden and never caught my sympathies.  The plot line was complicated by too many seemingly random occurrences, and I just didn’t care enough to keep at it, just to see if her taking her dodo to the vet was going to have any bearing on the plot.

This book was obviously popular enough with people to prompt sequels, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.  Anyone else with an opinion?

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