Nothing is ever totally black and white

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

I finished reading this novel just before I went to see Jasper Fforde a few weeks ago. I was planning to write my thoughts about this brilliant book shortly thereafter, but I’ve been struck with a severe case of the ‘Jasper Fforde role-playing game’… This, he said, was how everyone gets stuck trying to describe his books.

So what is Shades of Grey about? It’s a dystopian view of a world far in the future where technology is regressing. Society has developed a strict class structure based upon colour and your status is determined by the colours you perceive. See, it’s not straight-forward to explain, is it? It is though – full of original characters that you’ll love and hate; it has Fforde’s zany humour and oodles of quirkiness running all through it. It also has romance, coming of age and fish out of water themes, and is part one of a trilogy (part two in 2013). What more could you want?…

… Underlying this class satire and all the small town politics is a level of seriousness unseen in previous Fforde books. It was primarily this vein of gravitas that made me love it more than any previous Fforde read.  It is also a rather complex world, and it took a little time to get into, but I couldn’t put it down once I started to learn a bit about this bizarre system.

I’m going to give up trying to talk about it any more. Instead I’m going to say ‘Don’t ask, just read it!’  And one of you can get a free copy to do just that!

I have a signed copy of the new paperback edition to give away.  I’ll send world-wide, (surface to far off places).  All you have to do is mention your favourite dystopia – in print, on film or TV in the comments.

I’ll make the draw next Friday.  Meanwhile you might like to read Chasing Bawa‘s review – Sakura managed to describe the book far better than me.

Shades of Grey is a startlingly original dystopia that I loved.  (10/10)

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To buy from Amazon.co.uk, click below:
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

9 thoughts on “Nothing is ever totally black and white

  1. Well, my favorite dystopia has to be Never Let Me Go (the novel, not the movie) which I’ve only just read and which I was extremely impressed by.

  2. I know from personal experience how hard it is to write about this book – my first professional interview was with Fforde and was about this book and I agonized over my writeup for weeks! It’s such a good book, but you’re right that it’s difficult to succinctly convey its backbone to anyone who hasn’t read it without sounding like you’re crazy. I’m really excited by this new series by Fforde (how does he manage to continually come up with such brilliant ideas?) and can’t wait for the next one!

  3. I remember reading that now Steph, and I’ve just popped back to remind myself – it was a great piece.

    I did love that slight sense of menace in a slightly 1984-ish way that permeated things, and the way the quest to High Saffron took on epic Western proportions.

  4. Thanks for the link Annabel:) That was a really difficult synopsis to write just because Fforde’s story is so detailed but so brilliant that you don’t want to leave anything out without spoiling the story! I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

  5. One of my favourites is Logan’s Run. Although I’m more of a reader than a film buff I have to admit that I have only seen the film. Although it looks slightly dated now on screen, the premise is so good that I’ve watched it many times.

    • Hi Amanda – welcome and thanks for subscribing to my blog.

      Logan’s run – I remember it well – the chiselled cheekbones of the young and handsome Michael York. Great film.

  6. Dystopian novels aren’t my favourite books but there are two which stands out: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam.

    I love Jasper Fforde!!

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