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Book Watch
by Fr an Har away
Boulder City Library
The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde
Your humble book reviewer doesn’t usually read science
fiction unless the novel has a literature component, so for
years, all I’ve had is Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, but
things are looking up! Along comes the Eyre Affair, a lively
mix of sci-fi and fantasy with a protagonist who would be
described by The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s Lou Grant as
having spunk!
This lady, named Thursday Next, is a thirty-something
literatec (aka literary detective) assigned to an elite group -
SpecOps 5 - whose task is to catch the bad guy who stole
an original copy of Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit. She lives
with a reconstituted pet dodo named Pickwick and has a
father whose face can stop a clock - literally. He’s a rogue
Chronoguard member on the run, and when he wants to
visit her he just makes time stand still.
Thursday is a veteran of the Crimean war, a conflict which
has been going on since 1854 with no end in sight. Britain is
a police state run by a corporation dedicated to keeping the
war going because its existence boosts the economy. Gangs
fight over literary authorship, people change their names to
those of their favorite authors, and revisionist history is the
order of the day.
In addition to the problems such an environment creates,
our heroine is looking for the thief - Acheron Hades - a man
who was her professor but gave up academia in favor of
crime. This baddie’s main talent is that he is not visible on
film. The security cameras don’t register him at all!
Thursday’s attempt to capture Hades has several
disastrous components, and she ends up in her hometown,
Swinton, to continue the search. In addition to locating
Hades, she becomes involved in finding the murderer of a
SpecOps agent who was “ . . . shot dead in the old town
during a bookbuy that went wrong,” and she has to discover
why characters are disappearing completely from classics.
In Thursday’s world, “The barriers between reality and
fiction are softer than we think.” Sounds a lot like our world
too!
To learn about this and other books, visit the Boulder
City Library at www.bclibrary.org.
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