“The barriers between reality and fiction are softer than we think; a bit like a frozen lake. Hundreds of people can walk across it, but then one evening a thin spot develops and someone falls through; the hole is frozen over by the following morning” (The Eyre Affair 206). Jasper Fforde portrays to the reader that life has both real and imaginary components, and that the two are not entirely different from each other. Through his series, Fforde follows the life of Thursday Next, a Special Operatives Agent in this futuristic, fictional reality where the real world interacts with characters and events in famous novels. Through her eyes, he explores the power of literature in life. Fforde’s characters live in a world where literature is so valued that it has its own police agency, people can travel through the center of the Earth, and the Crimean War is in its 132nd year.
In 1853, the Ottoman Empire and Russia argued over control of the Holy Land. This controversy led to Russia’s declaration of war against the Turks, a conflict that came to be known as the Crimean War. Britain and France feared that Russia would completely claim the Black Sea, a major trade route. In 1854, in order to limit Russian expansionism, Britain and France came to the aid of the Ottoman Empire. The allies invaded Sevastopol, a Russian seaport in the Crimea. About a year and a half into the war, the Russians evacuated Sevastopol and left it for the allies. Subsequently, a Peace Conference was held in Paris, and on March 30, 1856, the allies signed a treaty with unfavorable terms for Russia. By entering the war, Britain and France achieved their own objectives and also helped the Ottoman Empire. Without allied aid, the Empire could not have withstood the Russian assault.
Major Works Consulted:
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. London: Penguin, 2001.Photo Credit:
Fforde, Jasper. The Well of Lost Plots. London: Penguin, 2003.
---. Lost in a Good Book. London: Penguin, 2002.
Palmer, Alan. The Crimean War. New York: Dorset, 1987.
Royle, Trevor. Crimea: The Crimean War 1854-1856. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000.