Our book-club book for the month is Jasper Fforde‘s most recent novel for adults. Not sure if I’m going to make it to book club this month, but anyway, while the book is still relatively fresh in my mind, I wanted to jot down my thoughts about it here.
Shades of Grey
An intriguing post-apocalyptic world with some novel ideas
Jasper Fforde is better known for his literary comedy books, which provide a post-modern take on the some traditional genres, like nursery rhymes. This book is a departure from that, so existing fans may not find it quite to their liking. This is, in essence, a science fiction novel: a story set in post-apocalyptic world.
There are still some comedic elements, and there is a hint of romance, but foremost this is a display of Fforde’s inventiveness. For example, in this speculative future, the characters live in a colourtocracy, where association with certain colours relates to a position in the class structure. One might consider the result to be the dystopian love child of George Orwell and Roald Dahl.
While the world itself is fascinating, and learning more about it was the impetus to keep reading, the main character was a bit of an empty shell. I didn’t find anything particularly likeable or admirable about him, nor anything repulsive either – he just stumbles along through the plot, primarily pushed along by other characters’ agendas.
Finally, it is worth noting that this book is the first of a trilogy, and the other books aren’t written yet. This was something not immediately apparent from the cover of the edition that I was reading.
3 thoughts on “The Future, as feared by Fforde”
I enjoyed it but not as much as the Eyre Affair series which are really his best work. The idea of colour being removed and the basis of status is fascinating but as you state some of the characters were a little forced.
Yeah. I like the old stuff better than the new stuff. But I give him points for trying something different.