Shades of Grey

Author: Jasper Fforde

Eddie Russett sees red. Actually, that’s the only color he can see, placing him relatively low in the ranks of the colortocracy. Not that he questions his lot in life much . . . inquisitiveness is generally discouraged, just as living according to the Rules is, well, highly encouraged. When Eddie does start getting ideas that vary from the approved norm, he manages to get himself shipped to the outskirts of civilization on a chair census as punishment. What he finds there, and who he meets there, will change his view of the world he lives in radically–whether he’s ready to find out or not.

As I’ve stated before, I really enjoy Jasper Fforde’s writing quite a bit. Having said that, I must say that Shades of Grey is like nothing of his that I’ve ever read before. It evokes the idea of a modern 1984 or Brave New World, really. The story is full of allusions, commentary, and warnings about present-day issues, presented in the form of an engaging story. Eddie’s personality is interesting, and the world he lives in is strange and thought-provoking. Fforde unfolds his world captivatingly, throwing a mass of presumptions at the reader in the beginning, then gradually unfolding the mystery as he goes–it’s rather maddening at times, but at the same time, it works. Shades of Grey made me angry, horrified, and teary in a good way, and it made my brain think along some very atypical paths–I would recommend this for those who enjoy thought-provoking stories and who aren’t turned off by some sociopolitical commentary.


Filed under Book Review

2 responses to “Shades of Grey

  1. I tried to enjoy it, I really did. Though I saw what he was trying to do, the abstract style of his writing didn’t really gel with the Brave New World / Brazil-esque commentary for me. I finished it, but limped to the end. Doubt I will ever read any more in the series.

    Nice review though!


    • I do see where you’re coming from. I really did enjoy this book, but it certainly wasn’t the quick, light sort of story I’m used to from Fforde. And there is a lot of weird, abstract stuff to get through. Thanks for the comment!


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