Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde

'Shades of Grey' is the first book in a yet-to-be written trilogy set 600 (or maybe 1600) years in the future, in Jade-Under-Lime, a small community in what was once Wales.

The inhabitants are trapped under an expanding collection of stifling and nonsensical rules which (seemingly by the intention of Munsell the founder) hold back all advancement and enforce a strict caste system based on the ability to perceive colour.

Colour has become a cultural obsession. Firmly entrenched in his backward society mild Eddie Russett quietly questions some of the wherefores of the world and attempts romance with volatile Jane, a servant girl from the Grey underclass.

Possibly unique in my reading experience, I did not know what to think. Ever.

At first, I DESPISED it. Every ten minutes I was groaning aloud with abject confusion and frustration. "What the hell is this insufferable twee gibberish? Spoons? Swans? You're TRYING to prevent me from understanding a lick of this, aren't you, Fforde?"

Look at you, lording it over me with your brilliant ability to leave me out of the joke.

I DREADED going back to it every time I put it down. I thought the story was going to continue to throw up irrelevancies, kill the leads, and never make the slightest sense. On purpose. To taunt me.

In the downhill end of things, I think it started to be easier. I had MANY questions left unanswered, but I had grown curious for more. In fact, I LIKED Eddie. And Jane.

I enjoyed the humor (rare for a dystopia), though I always expected it to turn on me.

What a weird experience! I flip flopped so completely that I think in time I'll probably think back on it fondly.

Thanks, Ron, for bringing it to book club. I never would have read this on my own- and for once I think that's a compliment.

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