Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron by Jasper Fforde

A Review by Jason Danby, Collins Werribee Team Member

Finally! For those who are sick of reading hacks flogging the tired old horse of fiction, Jasper Fforde comes not so much as a breath of fresh air but as the breath of new life. He’s the sort of writer who makes published authors say, “Wish I’d thought of that!” and unpublished scribblers mutter into their manuscripts, “Why bother?” Shades of Grey may be six months late but it’s worth the wait. With great characterization and a plot that is almost, but not completely, unlike a Chair Census, it could be said that Fforde paints a vivid picture. But it won’t because a book of this sort of originality doesn’t deserve to be tied to such clich├ęs. It is set in a world under strict rule. The colour spectrum and how you perceive it dictates your station in life, spoons are illegal and positive feedback is regulates character. Eddie Russet is happy to follow the rules until he meets a girl who threatens to break his jaw and so begins a collision course with the truth. It is part social commentary and part love story adventure with Fforde’s absurdist tongue rammed firmly into cheek. Perfect for anyone who is in need for a little suspended reality, or hasn’t taken the old imagination out for a spin lately. But if you’re an unpublished scribbler don’t read it, it’ll just depress you.

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