A Morning in Vermillion
18.104.22.168.021: Males are to wear dress-code #6 during intercollective travel. Hats are encouraged, but not mandatory.
It began with my father not wanting to see the Last Rabbit, and ended up with me being eaten by a carnivorous plant. It wasn't really what I'd planned for myself. I'd hoped to marry into the Oxbloods and join their dynastic string empire. But that was four days ago, before I met Jane, retrieved the Carvaggio or explored High Saffron. So instead of enjoying aspirations of Chromatic advancement, I was wholly immersed within the digestive soup of a yateveo tree. It was all frightfully inconvenient.
But it wasn't all bad, and for the following reasons: First, I was lucky to have landed upside down. I would drown in under a minute, which is far, far preferable to being dissolved alive over the space of a few weeks. Second and more important, I wasn't going to die ignorant. I had discovered something that no amount of merits can buy you: the truth. Not the whole truth, but a pretty big part of it. And that's why this was all frightfully inconvenient. I wouldn't get to do anything with it. And this truth was too big and too terrible to ignore. Still, at least I'd held it in my hands for a full hour, and understood what it meant.
-- from Shades of Grey: A Novel by Jasper Fforde
I've never read Jasper Fforde's books, but I'm quickly becoming convinced I'd love them. If you remember, we did a First Lines a few weeks ago about Fforde's newest book, The Last Dragonslayer. From reading the first lines of these two books, I feel as if Fforde is what would happen if Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) wrote fantasy. With a little more order thrown in, perhaps. It also recalls to mind P.G. Wodehouse (Jeeves & Wooster) and just a tad of Oscar Wilde. A winning mix if I ever saw one.
Here's why I'd keep reading this book:
1. What/who is the Last Rabbit?
2. Are we reading this story after the main character's death, or does he escape?
3. Who is Jane?
4. How did he 'retrieve' a Carvaggio, and from whom? Why?
5. What is the truth that he discovered?
I found out this book was available as a Kindle book through my library, so when I go away next weekend (visiting some friends for Superbowl weekend!), I'm hoping to take a copy with me. (Although I'll have to read it away from everyone else because if I laugh too loudly during the game I might get booted out!)
What do you think of Jasper Fforde's writing? Have you read anything by him? Would you?