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BlurbPenzler Pick, January 2002: When I first heard the premise of this unique mystery, I doubted that a first-time author could pull off a complicated caper involving so many assumptions, not the least of which is a complete suspension of disbelief. Jasper Fforde is not only up to the task, he exceeds all expectations.
Imagine this. Great Britain in 1985 is close to being a police state. The Crimean War has dragged on for more than 130 years and Wales is self-governing. The only recognizable thing about this England is her citizens' enduring love of literature. And the Third Most Wanted criminal, Acheron Hades, is stealing characters from England's cherished literary heritage and holding them for ransom.
Bibliophiles will be enchanted, but not surprised, to learn that stealing a character from a book only changes that one book, but Hades has escalated his thievery. He has begun attacking the original manuscripts, thus changing all copies in print and enraging the reading public. That's why Special Operations Network has a Literary Division, and it is why one of its operatives, Thursday Next, is on the case.
Thursday is utterly delightful. She is vulnerable, smart, and, above all, literate. She has been trying to trace Hades ever since he stole Mr. Quaverley from the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and killed him. You will only remember Mr. Quaverley if you read Martin Chuzzlewit prior to 1985. But now Hades has set his sights on one of the plums of literature, Jane Eyre, and he must be stopped.
How Thursday achieves this and manages to preserve one of the great books of the Western canon makes for delightfully hilarious reading. You do not have to be an English major to be pulled into this story. You'll be rooting for Thursday, Jane, Mr. Rochester--and a familiar ending. --Otto Penzler
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Eine sehr schöne Idee von Fforde: Literatur ist nicht nur immens populär, sondern es gibt einen Austausch zwischen der echten und der literarischen Welt. Darüber hinaus strotzt das Werk noch von weiteren phantastischen Ideen -- es spielt in einer alternativen Zeitlinie und verschiedene magische Erscheinungen sind real. Ein sehr bunter Kosmos...
Große Klasse, setzt aber einige Kenntnis der klassischen englischen Literatur (mindestens die ursprüngliche Jane Eyre) voraus. Fforde geht so wunderbar frech mit den würdevollen, teils verhärmten Figuren der Klassik um. Wer nicht gleich blass wird vor Ehrfurcht beim Lesen der Klassiker, wir dies mögen.