Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair

I've always loved Douglas Adams, so I mourned his loss even though (I'm sorry, I'm sorry!) I wasn't keeping up with his current work anymore. I received and read Julian Barnes' History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters this fall, and lovedlovedloved that. I've enjoyed the David Lodge I've bumped into, and I think Salman Rushdie is very funny, and so on.

So with all this in my background, I was unnerved -- Jasper Fforde seemed too good to be true. As a result, rather than seeking him out, I've kept him on my long-term radar. I'm not convinced I was wrong to delay checking him out, now that I've read his first novel for my introduction to him, but that's only because I'm the kind of person who hates finishing something I enjoy. (I refused to read more than one short story in Alistair MacLeod's Island on any given day, and some days I read the previous day's story again. Yes, "The Closing Down of Summer" was one of those.)

And I really enjoyed this novel. Hilarious, more literary than some professors I know -- I mean, than I've heard of -- and a fine piece of crime fiction to boot. (Oh, and the romance stuff is good as well.) It's a one-trick pony, in the sense that The Eyre Affair doesn't have the range or variety that Barnes' above-mentioned masterwork does, but my what a pony. It just keeps doing the same almost unimaginably complicated thing correctly, all the way through.

I'll be adding more Fforde to my shelves, happily, and likely loaning it out to anyone I can think of.


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