The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair

Book - 2002
Average Rating:
Rate this:

The first book in the phenomenally successful Thursday Next series, from Number One bestselling author Jasper Fforde.

'Always ridiculous, often hilarious ... blink and you miss a vital narrative leap. There are shades of Douglas Adams, Lewis Carroll, 'Clockwork Orange' and '1984'. And that's just for starters' - Time Out

Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend.

There is another 1985, where London's criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary market, and Thursday Next is on the trail of the new crime wave's MR Big.

Acheron Hades has been kidnapping certain characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. Jane Eyre is gone. Missing.

Thursday sets out to find a way into the book to repair the damage. But solving crimes against literature isn't easy when you also have to find time to halt the Crimean War, persuade the man you love to marry you, and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare's plays.

Perhaps today just isn't going to be Thursday's day. Join her on a truly breathtaking adventure, and find out for yourself. Fiction will never be the same again ...

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2002.
ISBN: 9780340733561
Characteristics: 384 p. ;,20 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
HCL_staff_reviews Oct 08, 2018

Jump into the zany world of SpecOps, the Chrono Guard, and the Goliath Corporation where our heroine, Thursday Next, will try to save the day. Fforde has created a world where people can time travel and enter books, and characters from novels, such as Great Expectations' Miss Haversham, can enter the real world. Look for characters from all those old favorites in one of the Thursday Next novels, but check your reality at the door. This is the first book in the series. — Jan G., Penn Lake Library

Jan 12, 2018

I loved Fforde's Nursery Crime Division books, but couldn't finish this. Thursday Next too down.

Jun 01, 2017

There was much in this book for a librarian like me to enjoy. The villain was a crafty and seemingly invincible adversary for our heroine SecOps Agent Thursday Next. That brings to mind the quirky names sprinkled throughout including Braxton Hicks and Jack Schitt. Add in the out-of-time pop in visits from her father, the return of the Dodo bird as a pet of choice and the many references to great literature including one of my favorite novels of all time: "Jane Eyre" and you have a book that is worth reading. I will definitely be giving this series some more attention. Without delivering any huge spoilers I must mention one of my favorite moments in the book when Agent Next is in a hospital bed and receives a visit from her future self and partner agent in a multi-colored roadster. Where can I get one of those?!

SquamishLibraryStaff Mar 15, 2017

I have fallen head over heels in love with Jasper Fford’s highly original literary world and am looking forward to his next book. Not sure that I fully approve of Thursday’s romantic choices, but hopefully that will be further fleshed out later in the series.

A note in case anyone is wondering, I might have enjoyed this even more if I’d read “Jane Eyre” first, but it’s not necessary.

Dec 12, 2016

At first I found the novel a little hard to get into, with all the war and military talk and all. But the alternate reality of a literate and literature-knowledgeable citizenry (so unlike our own unfortunate reality) held my interest. Delightful and impressively imaginative story. The narrator was really good at various voices.

Nov 25, 2016

The writing was crisp, the characters felt real, the world was...odd. I wasn't sure what to make of it, whether to take it completely seriously or completely farcical. It is a world where literature is revered to a near spiritual level (there are groups of people proselytizing about who wrote Shakespeare's plays), and whole police bureaus are dedicated to literary crimes. There is some time-travel sillyness thrown in as well, but it's entirely peripheral to the plot, adds more to the world-building and characterization than anything else.

In all, I enjoyed the story, it just made me look sideways at it a few times.

Jun 25, 2016

Playful humor and a bit of alternate history set in a world where classic literature is the hottest thing in popular culture. I'd say it's more clever than outright funny and probably not even that if you've never read Jane Eyre. And if you plan to read JE don't read this book first - it's full of spoilers.

Sep 18, 2015

It's difficult to successfully combine different genres.
Although clever and entertaining, I found the goofiness, instead of clicking with the action and drama, detract from them.

FindingJane Apr 16, 2015

Combining locked-room thefts, real-life book exploration, time travel, literary battles, burping bookworms and re-generated dodos, “The Eyre Affair” is like Douglas Adams crossed with Terry Pratchett, with the best classical literary writers in the English language thrown in for good measure. Mr. Fforde’s work brims with a love of wordplay neatly inserted into an alternate history that sits very comfortably in the reader’s psyche.

After a few chapters, it’s easy to accept a world where people can buy dodo sequencing kits over the counter like cough medicine or temporal anomalies appear out of nowhere and cause traffic jams and where a genius literally loses his wife in a Wordsworth poem. Mr. Fforde’s world is both off kilter and utterly mundane and therein lies the fun. Throw in a megalomaniacal villain who doesn’t show up on film, is seemingly bulletproof and can manipulate people’s minds and you’ve got a ripping good tale on your hands.

This is the start of a fantastic series but reads well as a standalone book. However, Thursday Next is a formidable heroine who’s just starting out on her adventures. Travel in time and space with her; it’s well worth the trip.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 18, 2015

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.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Oct 23, 2011

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

Scooteriffic Mar 19, 2011


"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

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.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

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


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top