Tag Archives: Jasper Fforde
Bedtime Stories: The Eyre Affair
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde.
This week, we’re talking a book for the grown-ups! A couple weeks back, I shared with you part of a series for young adults by Jasper Fforde, a book all about magicians and magical creatures. But before he launched into YA fiction, Jasper Fforde wrote several offbeat mystery novels for adults. The first of these novels, often described as “metafiction” was The Eyre Affair. It’s not easy to summarize the unusual world created by Fforde, but suffice it to say that literature and literary figures are so lauded that there is a special branch of operatives who deal specifically with crimes of a literary nature. Often that is little more that fake original manuscripts or “lost” poems of great writers. But when the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit is stolen under inexplicable circumstances, things get much more serious. When a minor character from the novel suddenly disappears from the book, and his body is found in modern-day London, the mystery becomes deadly serious. And Lit Tec operative Thursday Next may be the only one who can get to the bottom of it all.
I’ll admit this book is totally weird. I also can’t wait to go on and read the other books in this series. This one focuses, as you might suspect, on the Brontë novel Jane Eyre. I believe that there is some Hamlet in the next one! And who knows what else in the others? So if you think you’d enjoy metafiction (fiction about fiction) this one is great to read as a bedtime story to yourself.
Bedtime Stories: The Song of the Quarkbeast
The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Jasper Fforde is probably best known as the author of metafiction mysteries. Which means fiction about fiction. He writes about a detective who enters the plots of stories to solve crimes. Another is DI Jack Spratt who, as you may guess, is involved in crimes related to fairy tales and nursery rhymes. It’s known as the Nursery Crime Division. Yuk yuk. Recently, and to my great delight, he has branched out into young adult literature. The Last Dragonslayer came out last summer and I have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up novel.
Jennifer Strange is a foundling in the kingdom of Snodd in the Ununited Kingdom. She is taken in by the Great Zambini, a powerful wizard who runs a company which supplies wizidrical services to the kingdom. But when he disappears (and fails to reappear) Jennifer, at sixteen, is tasked with managing a building full of absent-minded and sometimes ethereal wizards. To add to the problem, they are in the middle of a bitter rivalry with iMagic, the flashier but less effective wizard’s group across town.
Excitement mounts as her team of wizards begin disappearing. At the same time, there are signs that a Quarkbeast has come to town, a fearsome magical creature that feeds on metal and sports a mouthful of sharp granite teeth. To the few who know better, like Jennifer, these creatures are loyal and wonderful protectors. Finding the Quarkbeast could prove very useful.
Jasper Fforde is a funny and clever author who manages to blend mystery and excitement with a healthy dose of silliness which makes him perfect as a young adult author. If you have a tween in your house who enjoys magic, humor, and mystery this series is a definite must.
Bedtime Stories: Shades of Grey (NOT Fifty!)
Post by Mark T. Locker
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde.
First of all, I know what you are thinking. No, it’s not THAT book. Shades of Grey predates that OTHER book by a full two years and, from what I know of 50 Shades, is utterly unlike it in any way.
Jasper Fforde is a British mystery novelist who has written a number of clever and entertaining series of novels. This unusual dystopian novel revolves around a young man named Eddie Russett. In this far-off future, people are broken into classes determined by what color they perceive. Eddie is a Red, which is the lowest end of the spectrum. Violets are the top dogs. Greys are nearly worthless. It is a strange and highly regimented world, all built on the rather odd laws of a man named Munsell. One of the most intrusive laws is the outlawing of spoon production, which makes spoons highly sought-after. Also, one must never, EVER marry a complimentary color. Imagine the scandal!
Eddie and his father are sent from their urban home to the far-off town of East Carmine, where Eddie is to perform a chair senseless as a punishment for “lack of humility”. When he meets a fiery Grey named Jane, his life slowly is turned upside-down as he begins to look at society in a new way.
What’s most interesting is that the first thing we learn is that Jane has pushed Eddie into a giant man-eating Yataveo tree, which will slowly digest him. He is narrating from inside the tree. I enjoyed this book quite a bit; I like Jasper Fforde and his tongue-in-cheek style, the classic understated British humorist.
Bedtime Stories: The Last Dragonslayer
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.
If you are a fan of cheeky British mysteries and/or metaliterature, you may be familiar with Jasper Fforde, whose Thursday Next novels and Nursery Crime series are quite well-known. His deft handling of the role of corporate culture, media, and government in a dryly ironic manner that only an Englishman could do keeps him always funny and always interesting.
This theme carries over into his first foray into his first series aimed at young adults and he pulls off the transition seamlessly.
Jennifer Strange is a foundling, brought up by the Sisterhood of the Lobster and given to the Great Zambini (can you guess his profession?) to be trained as an apprentice manager of magicians. But when Zambini disappears and she is left, at age fifteen, to manage a building full of magicians (who are notoriously scatterbrained and disorganized) she thinks her new fate has been drawn.
Little does she know that real fate is still awaiting: Jennifer Strange is the last in a long line of Dragonslayers, sworn to protect humans from dragons and dragons from humans. When it is foreseen that she will kill the last dragon, she embarks in her spike studded Rolls Royce Slayermobile to figure out what is fate, what is choice, and what is the matter with people.
I usually avoid books involving dragons, but here I have made an exception and I’m glad I have. Although the whole series is out in the UK, we stateside folks have to wait for the next two books sometime next year.