The Eyre Affair

Fforde, Jasper

Book - 2002
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Eyre Affair
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 Affairis 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

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2002.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 0670030643
Characteristics: viii, 374 p. ;,23 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 18, 2015
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A quirky, clever novel based on an alternate universe (Great Britain circa 1985) where time travel is routine, reality bends in most original ways and literary characters can and do leave the pages of books. In this imaginary world where one can literally get lost in a poem, literature is taken very, very seriously. This is the first book in an inventive and entertaining series where Thursday Next, literary detective, must hunt the villain who is killing characters in literary works and who kidnaps Emily Bronte from her novel.

Dec 08, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Brilliant farce/satire in a fascinating alternate world. Lots of fun for fans of classic literature. A worthy competitor for Terry Pratchett.

Sep 04, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
In the alternate reality of a literature-obsessed England, there are rival gangs of Shakespeare theorists, and detective Thursday Next of the book crimes unit looks into two mysteries: the theft of the original Martin Chuzzlewith manuscript for mysterious reasons, and why Jane Eyre has disappeared from the book at page 187. A very clever, fun read.
- Jill Rothstein, Andrew Heiskell Library

Aug 01, 2014
  • lbarkema rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was a throroughly entertaining novel, a bit contrived and cheesy in parts, but overall just really fun. Fforde has quite the imagination!

Jun 06, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is only my second Jasper Fforde book and after reading my first, I had high expectations for this one. Thankfully for me, this story hit those expectations and left me wanting to read more.

In a crazy alternate world where literary works are bought, sold, displayed and stolen like they're major art works, the author has created a hilarious and action packed mystery story.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves the classics, time travel, alternate universes, mysteries and general craziness.

May 04, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I originally read this book when I was in high school and I remember not liking it. I'm glad that I gave it a second go. It's very much an 'English major/book nerd' sort of book and I don't think I'd read enough of the books referenced here to understand it properly when I was sixteen. A lot of the little in jokes about certain characters, plot twists, and endings I've now at least heard of post-grad.

It's a very strange alternate world we have here. England is a police state, not a very overly threatening one, but there it is, literature is taken so seriously that there is a branch of Special Ops dedicated to it. Thursday Next is one such agent and she deals with a missing Dickens manuscript, the fact that her aunt is stuck in a Wordsworth poem, and that Jane Eyre has been kidnapped. At the same time there is a megalomaniac genius super villain on the loose and she's also contending with her ex-boyfriend.

If you love Douglas Adams style humour and are a fan of books and literature, you'll be hard pressed to not get a knowing chuckled out of this.

Apr 15, 2014
  • KCLSLibsRecommend rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The first in what has become an ever wilder & more surreal series, Fforde’s novel stars Thursday Next as a ‘literary detective’ investigating crimes where characters from the world of fiction interact with the ‘real world.’ Literature is a major force in this realm where, for instance, Next’s aunt can get literally lost inside a poem by Wordsworth and snide evildoer Acheron Hades can kidnap and hold hostage minor personages from Dickens’ “Martin Chuzzlewit”! And then Hades set his sights on none other than Jane Eyre. Meanwhile, Next’s Uncle Mycroft helps out with inventions such as the Prose Portal, while the Crimean war has gone on seemingly forever, and Next is often aggravated by her no-longer-extinct pet dodo, Pickwick.
By turns, hilarious and thought-provoking, Fforde keeps introducing crazier conceits into this series while still preserving a strange logical consistency. Certainly captivating for a particular kind of book lover!

Mar 28, 2013
  • bwortman rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Fforde's novel is an absolute delight. Easily straddling the border between science fiction and fantasy, his novel is truly a love letter to literature and language. Moving easily from punny names and apostrophe jokes to passages that reflect on what major literary works might be like if things were just a bit different, the novel is entertaining from start to finish. Definitely more fun for those familiar with the works mentioned but definitely accessible to anyone who's ever been lost in the pages of a book.

Mar 19, 2013
  • TheIronPaw rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Picture a world where literature enflames passions the way politics, religion, pro-sports do in our world. Where Baconians riot over who wrote Shakespeare's plays. Where the line between reality and literature blurs and history is malleable (where Wellington is not killed at Waterloo - damn French revisionists at it again). Insert a crime/thriller plot into this world with our heroine Thursday Next and we have a wild novel that continually challenges our perceptions of reality and probability. Though initial impressions would lead us to compare this novel with Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker universe, or Terry Pratchet's Discworld, Jasper Fforde does not approach this with a tongue in cheek, or social satire style. This is a serious crime/thriller, although it does have its fair share of comedic episodes. Advice to new readers of this series: it would be wise to have read at least a plot summary of Jane Eyre and to be familiar with characters of that novel.

Overall: challenging but fun-filled crime thriller.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Great fun to read! It has everything: time travel, vampires, werewolves, mystery, action, murder, romance, war, fantasy, genetic mutants, and just total madcap insanity. Doubly amusing for literature nerds like me.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"As the saying goes: If you want to get into SpecOps, act kinda weird. We don't tend to pussyfoot around."

Mar 19, 2011
  • Scooteriffic rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Mar 13, 2010
  • Brandon Peter Schatz rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Governments and fashions come and go but Jane Eyre is for all time."


Add a Summary

Jul 28, 2013

England 1985: Litera Tec agent Thursday Next must solve the mysterious theft of the original manuscript to Martin Chuzzelwith, the disappearance of Jane Eyre from the book around page 187, and how both relate to the possible end to the Crimean War.

Fantastic read for literature lovers everywhere, especially if you enjoy alternative history narratives

Mar 13, 2010
  • Brandon Peter Schatz rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The first in the series of Thursday Next books. Here, we start with the basics, with Thursday working for a division of law enforcement that focuses exclusively on book related crimes. All goes relatively well, until the realms of fiction and reality cross-over in all together unexpected ways, leading to the random (of sorts) of the book Jane Eyre.

Oh, and there's all sorts of other brilliantly dry British and literature related humour.


Add Age Suitability

Mar 13, 2010
  • Brandon Peter Schatz rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Brandon Peter Schatz thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET