More years ago than I care to remember I read my way through Douglas Adams, went through all the disk world novels at least twice (there were probably only about 15 of them back then) and enthusiastically read Robert Rankin's output. My teenage self found all three writers immensely entertaining and clever, not least for the wealth of references to chase to their sources (I wish I'd had google back then). Over the years my tastes have changed and all those books have found their way into charity shops but I still think fondly of them sometimes which is why every time I've seen a Jasper Fforde I've picked it up and given it a moments consideration before moving on, when I saw a handful of his titles in The Works at 3 for £5 though I had to buy.
'The Eyre Affair' is part sci-fi (very much the sort that puts me in mind of Adams, Pratchett, and Rankin - especially Rankin) part thriller, and has parts of all sorts of other things thrown in for good measure. Heroine Thursday Next (literary detective) has to end the Crimean war, persuade her ex to marry her, rescue a kidnapped Jane Eyre, and thwart a master criminal. There are also vampires. It wouldn't work if it wasn't funny, but it is funny and as someone who's fond of the classics there's something very appealing about a world where people really care about Jane Eyre and so many of them seem to want to be John Milton.
This was one of those books that kept making me giggle as I read it which in turn prompted several 'what's so funny' questions followed by blank looks because you have to read the whole thing to get it and I think that really sums up everything I have to say about 'The Eyre Affair'. I have a couple of the sequels that I'm saving for a rainy day (it would have been ideal reading today when I would have much rather been on the sofa with an entertaining book than at work trying to organise people to do things) and next time I'm in 'The Works' will see if they have any more because it's never a bad thing to have a stock of books to hand that you can guarantee will make you smile.
And whilst I'm in a Bronte frame of mind... I love this Hark, a vagrant cartoon.