The Eyre Affair

Our friend Jennifer recommended this the other week.

Initially I put this book into the same category as The Yiddish Policemen’s Union — which is to say, tough competition.  And, while enjoyable, The Eyre Affair is not really up to the same standard; the writing is decent but not popping, the ideas are fun but, after a while, perhaps a bit obvious.

By midway through I decided that this book fits more into the genre of The Hitchhiker’s Guide.  It has a similar approach to logic and reality, and I found it enjoyable in a similar sort of way.  Where Union, improbably, is a serious book in goofy trappings, Affair makes no excuses for its goofiness — every character has an absurd, jokey name.

Affair is the first of a series.  I read the second (good as well) and the third (less good).  The series went meta — events happening inside of books in the book — and I lost my connection with the characters.  Though… even the third has some gems, like the discussion of “had had” and “that that”.

I realized after a while that sometimes I am not positive enough about the good books, or detailed enough about my reasons for liking them.  You really ought to read Union.  It is great.  Soon I Will Be Invincible is another one — I wrote about it tepidly, but it really is a must-read.

3 Comments

  • If you like fantasy with a twist try this one: The Flame of Heaven by Andrew P. Wright on amazon, Barnes & noble and other good sites.

    http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/TheFlameOfHeaven.html

  • Hi Tom! I’ve read the first of the series but I didn’t like it enough to go on with the other two. I remember that there is one chapter that is missing in the Eyre Affair (it appears in the table of contents but the corresponding page is blank). My theory is that this is a backdoor left by the author so he could latter write a book in which someone “steals” this chapter from all copies. Does anything like this happens in the second or third books, by any chance?

  • Hah! Dude, I did not notice that.

    It doesn’t happen in #2 or #3. I haven’t read #4 … I probably won’t.

    There’s also a joke in the dictionary entry on the back cover of #1.
    Plus probably many, many more that I didn’t see…

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