Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wittiness in a dystopia world is just plain genius

Shades of Grey: Road to High Saffron
Jasper Fforde

Eddie Russett is a Red - that is, he can only see red colors of the spectrum - and he lives in a world where people are divided into castes based on their visual perceptions. Unfortunately, Red is at the bottom of the scale with only Greys being lower and all colors being higher up to the ultimate in visual acuity - Purple. Eddie has a pretty good life: he is in the running to marry a Red of higher status than him, he will inherit her family's string factory, and he can actually see more shades of red than he lets on, which may result in a future career with National Color. However, all of that changes when he travels with his father to the Outer Fringe to conduct a chair census as punishment for a practical joke. While in East Carmine, he realizes that not all is as it seems and that the beautiful Grey, Jane, could be the key to it all.

I really enjoyed the fictional world of Chromatacia! Fforde is not only a witty writer, cleverly forming novel words that are descriptive and acerbic, but he manages to deliver wittiness in a completely made-up world that centers on the colors of the visual spectrum in a time that is 500 years after the collapse of the present society (whenever that may be!). Where the Thursday Next books often lose me in all of the literary references that I am not well-read enough to catch, Shades of Grey was a wonderful balance between educated reading and attainable comprehension.

I will definitely be waiting for the second installment of this trilogy to see where adulthood takes Eddie, Jane, Tommo, and the other inhabitants of East Carmine.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great book indeed, Nicole! I've been reading a lot of dystopia recently, but the library didn't have this one, so I moved on to some other books. Maybe I'll have a look in the book shop for this.