Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shades of Grey

Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey, which has been drowned out in google searches by another 'Shade of Grey' (of rather notorious fame) is in my opinion, an underrated masterpiece.

Fforde, who with his 'Thursday Next' series already injected more than a bit of fantasy into a bookworm's boring life, has created another world. A post-apocalyptic dystopian world in which colour and the perception of it reigns supreme.

Here, Eddie Russet, the book's protagonist who must complete a chair consensus as a punishment for coming up with a new way to queue meets Jane Grey. Eddie is completely vague and more than willing to be led around by the system, which dictates that, as he is Red, he will be considered inferior to almost all the colours of the spectrum, that he will live a quiet, no-rocking-the-boat life with Constance Oxblood, whose father owns a string factor. Jane is a spitfire who disregards colour boundaries and punches Eddie on their first meeting. She will eventually end up feeding him to a flesh-eating plant. And on the way, open his eyes to the horrifying truth about the world they inhabit.

Together they must try and change the way people live. And try not to get sent to the education center. And figure out just where all the spoons have gone.

This book is a delightful read because, like most British humour, it tries not to take itself too seriously. You want to laugh at the people described in it, at their fear of gigantic swans, the touristy interest in the Last Living Rabbit, or the way they refer to... you know. Mr Fforde keeps this light tone right upto the end of the book, and maybe that's why the climax is even more morbid than you can imagine.

You've never read a book like it, and you won't ever read a book like it again... until its sequel, Painting By Numbers comes out. Soon. But not soon enough.

To know more about the book, visit the official site:

For the movie on the book visit:

Contributed by Ruhee D'Cunha