Jasper Fforde

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One of my English professors introduced me to the colorful world of Jasper Fforde in college, and I couldn’t be more grateful! The Eyre Affair is the first book in his Thursday Next series, in which literary detective Thursday Next must enter the book world to investigate the kidnapping of Jane Eyre, who, after her disappearance from her novel written in first person, leaves the rest of the book’s pages ominously blank.

As you can tell from that description, Fforde’s writing is chock-full of outrageous characters, zany situations, bad sci-fi, obscure literary references and wonderfully wry British humor. You can also look forward to literary gimmicks on the page, like characters speaking through “footnoterphone” and a BookWorld-raised baby jabbering along in Lorem Ipsum. Fforde revels in the careful details of the world he’s created, even going so far as to code dummy websites in self-described “vintage HTML” referencing the satirical companies and government initiatives he’s invented. (Pictured: The Toast Marketing Board website. Explore jasperfforde.com for more!)

I also appreciate how Fforde challenges the tropes of the detective genre with his happily married protagonist, Thursday Next, who makes bold choices in the field without actually having a problem with authority. Jack Spratt (yes, THAT Jack Spratt) from Fforde’s Nursery Crimes spin-off is also happily re-married (and sober) with five boisterous children. (Pictured: Diagram from the case file of The Big Over Easy.)

If you have the chance to meet Jasper Fforde in person, please do so! You’ll be treated to niche one-liners (“If you have any spare vowels, please stick them in an envelope and send them to Wales”) and perhaps stories from his past life as a filmmaker on the set of The Mask of Zorro. You can also see his lovely film photography on Instagram. (Thank you for sharing your world with us, Jasper!)

Adrian PatenaudeComment