The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde

Dear Mr. Fforde,

You are a very clever writer, and I’m sure you know it; your plotting, however, leaves something to be desired. I have had some difficulty reconciling the witty, bantering tone of your novel The Eyre Affair with its hardboiled plotline and tendency to shift focus without warning. Also, you should note that just because you inserted exposition into the beginning of each chapter and labeled it as an excerpt from an imaginary biography does not for one second make it anything other than exposition- and rather dull at that. Please don’t take this the wrong way, because there were a lot of things I liked, even loved, about your book. The idea of an alternate history steeped in literary tradition so strong that it influences government policy is a wonderful concept, and your ability to convey this with a wink and a nod is great. And Thursday Next, your strong-but-conflicted protagonist, is a good foil to the silly Baconian door-to-door pamphleteers and reverse-engineered pet dodos. But that still leaves the problem of plot, which I don’t think was quite as high up on your list of “things to do in my book.” Much of the story was well-paced and enticing, but then we reach the actual “Eyre affair” of the title, nearly four-fifths of the way through the book , and things get problematic, and not just for your spunky heroine. After Thursday’s foray into the novel, which was very original and fun to read, the reader is suddenly thrust into a tangle of loose ends with astoundingly abrupt solutions. Thursday left the man she loves ten years ago? Of course they can get back together on his wedding day with less than a page of dialogue and a sorta-clever-but-really-cheesy plot hook stolen borrowed from Jane Eyre! Thursday needs to escape the Goliath Corporation after she “lost” their leader? Send a car that cleverly deposits her at the closing of another frayed plot string! These things really needed a little more effort, sir. I am willing, out of appreciation for your obvious love of literature, to give the next book in your series a try and hope that it resolves itself in a more coherent fashion

Before closing, I will say that the idea that Jane Eyre originally ended with her marrying (ugh) St. John Rivers, and only through Thursday’s intervention was the novel rewritten to reunite Jane and Rochester, was a stroke of genius.

(show spoiler)

Yours Truly,

Moderately Entertained in VA