Jasper Fforde’s ability to write such incredibly creative and original books which subtly comments on our own society yet still proving to be an easy and highly entertaining read never ceases to amaze me.
‘Shades of Grey’ is a novel which takes place in a future world where the inhabitants can only naturally see one colour and everything else appears to them as grey. Which shade is visible to them and how much of it they can see determines their class and social standing. The action centres around Eddie Russett, a young red who has been sent to the ‘outer fringes’ to conduct a chair census as punishment for having played a prank on the son of a prefect.
It paints a picture of a wonderfully imaginative yet dystopian future to rival those created by Orwell, Atwood, Bradbury and Burgess.
This book gives you everything a great novel should and with great ease. Fforde never appears to be trying too hard. ‘Shades of Grey’ gives you a tale of romance and adventure, good guys and bad guys, of growing up and discovery laced with humour and yet all the while quietly broaching the tricky subjects of racism, social order, government rule and law enforcement.
All in all Fforde’s novel is a fantastic book which I highly recommend to any avid reader. I eagerly await the release of the sequel ‘Shades of Grey 2: Painting by Numbers’ scheduled to come out some time next year.
Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series continues with the release of book 7 this July : The Woman Who Died a Lot.