Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde (Book Review)

7739723

Though never reading any of his books previously, I am aware of Jasper Fforde. This book was recommended by a friend strongly enough to persuade me to buy it:

Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour.

Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane – a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed.

For Eddie, it’s love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey . . .

This book is a dystopian fututre where society has been divided into classes based upon the individual’s colour perception: from Purples at the top, to greys at the bottom considered little more than savages. Relationships are determined almost exclusively by who will benefit your hue, with strong blues and reds looking to marry for the purpose of a purple child, leading them into a higher social standing.

Eddie is sent with his dad to a small town where corruption is evident in what is known as ‘loopholery’; still adherence to the rules, though a questionably one.

As it becomes clear that not everything people are told is true, Eddie strays dangerously close to Rule-breaking to seek the truth.

This book is bizarre to describe but incredible to read – it is a book that is certainly difficult to put down. With so many hidden secrets and unsolved questions, the reader is lured into the solution as much as the characters – hoping for a more emotive society than what is currently there.

I haven’t read many dystopian future books, and this is certainly a great introduction to them – thankfully it is also a series so I look forward to the release of the next volume!

Highly recommended – the humour is spot-on on the plot fascinating.

Post Office – Charles Bukowski (Book Review)

5974453

I’m a bit of a fan of Bukowski’s poetry, though finding books of his is somewhat of a rarity. I stumbled across this in the ‘cult fiction’ section of my local bookshop.

Henry Chinaski is a low life loser with a hand-to-mouth existence. His menial Post Office day job supports a life of beer, one-night stands and racetracks.

Jumping from one relationship to the next, and dropping work on a whim, Chinaski lives day-by-day life.

The novel itself is short, and a very quick read. There are lots of points throughout the book which are very funny too, with Chinaski’s cynical attitude towards the authority figures in his life, and the lack of love he shows to the women in his life.

The book is void of hope for consistency for Chinaski, but he doesn’t seek it either. His bosses annoy him; and sooner or later, his lovers do too. He wants to live a life of ease, without pressure, and where he can simply drink and bet on horses.

I would recommend the book to people who enjoy things from the beat generation where this definitely belongs, and those who are fans of Bukowski. His down-to-earth attitude to writing, often with brute honesty, is something we sometimes need reminded of.