Shades of Grey
July 22, 2019 9:51 AM - by Jasper Fforde - Subscribe

From the author of the Thursday Next series and Early Riser: Welcome to Chromatacia, where the societal hierarchy is strictly regulated by one's limited color perception. And Eddie Russet wants to move up. But his plans to leverage his better-than-average red perception and marry into a powerful family are quickly upended. Juggling inviolable rules, sneaky Yellows, and a risky friendship with an intriguing Grey named Jane who shows Eddie that the apparent peace of his world is as much an illusion as color itself, Eddie finds he must reckon with the cruel regime behind this gaily painted fa├žade.
posted by soelo (17 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Loved this book so much. I'm a big Jasper Fforde fan already, and I like the world he has built in this book. I need to re-read it, I think.

Also, according to Fforde's 'third next book' is "Shades of Grey II - Either a prequel that takes place before the 'Something that happened' or we'll just carry on straight after Eddie's marriage. I'm favouring the latter. I'll be working on this in 2020 and am not sure how long it will take to write. "
posted by jazon at 10:26 AM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah he has been promising more in this world for a long time. I have given up hope.

But the book is fantastic and I was very upset when Fifty Shades of Grey came out and people looked at this one on my shelf funny.
posted by jeather at 10:43 AM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I was reading this last week and was pretty sure there was at least one planned-but-not published sequel. Oh well, a prequel would also be cool. One thing that stood out for me was the geography of the country or island they were on. I am still not sure if there were enough hints to confirm what current country they occupy. The Fords make me think the US, but I had an island in mind, so maybe it is Great Britain or Long Island?

I really liked the roadway that can only be held in by brass, even though it had a sinister vibe.
posted by soelo at 11:31 AM on July 22, 2019

I devoured this book when it first came out, and was ecstatic to see that Fforde had plans for a sequel. I'd almost forgotten about it now, every once in a while I'll see a copy on the shelf and rediscover it for myself.

Now I wonder how this would pair with The City and The City.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:26 PM on July 22, 2019

I'd read all of the Thursday Next series, and always found it to be delightfully loopy, and the Nursery Crimes series was also fun. But this. Holy crap this book.

Every now and then, I'm reminded that it's been a decade since this book, and I try to figure out whether I'm going to get the next one before The Doors of Stone, but I figure that Fforde is just making sure that any other story in the Chromatic Universe lives up to SoG, and that is a hard row to hoe.
posted by Etrigan at 2:00 PM on July 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I also loved this story. I might actually re-read it thanks to this thread, as I remember I found it utterly intriguing. One thing I couldn't get my head round was whether the inhabitants looked standard human or whether the implication was that their features were in some way slightly out of kilter - I want to say larger eyes and smaller noses, but can't be certain. So, re-read time.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 2:34 PM on July 22, 2019

I wasn't the hugest fan of Jasper Fforde ... until I read this book. It's just great.
posted by kyrademon at 3:59 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

It was on the strength of the book that I tried the Thursday next books and was a little disappointed. But this book was a delight! I read it a long time ago, but small details still pop up in my brain every now and again- the compact that opens to green...I'm gonna have to re-read this thing! Still no sequel though?
posted by Bibliogeek at 8:07 AM on July 26, 2019

I really liked this when I read it, and even the faint hope of a sequel is heartening.

The Fords make me think the US, but I had an island in mind, so maybe it is Great Britain or Long Island?

I seem to recall that at some point someone brought up the interface of the self-maintaining roadway, and the text was in Welsh...
posted by entity447b at 3:18 PM on July 26, 2019

I am still not sure if there were enough hints to confirm what current country they occupy.

From Wikipedia:
Details reveal that East Carmine is located in Wales (the A470 road is mentioned), and the description of the town close to the lower of a series of five dams suggests it is Rhayader, at the foot of the Elan Valley. Nearby Rusty Hill was once Builth Wells. The town of Vermillion used to be Hereford. The town of High Saffron is on the coast beyond the dams, which suggests Aberystwyth.
posted by Etrigan at 4:57 PM on July 26, 2019

I just finished re-reading this last week. It's still one of my favourite books because it's a masterclass in world building.

I went to a book signing event for Early Riser a few months ago. Fforde polled the audience about what we would like him to publish next and we overwhelmingly voted for a sequel to SoG. He was pretty much like 'Noted, but ah well cos I'm doing other stuff first.'
posted by Eumachia L F at 5:05 AM on August 7, 2019 [1 favorite]

Red Side Story is currently scheduled for release on August 11th, 2022.
posted by soelo at 4:08 PM on November 18, 2021

Moved to April 6th 2023...
posted by soelo at 8:40 AM on September 1, 2022

Expected publication July 6, 2023
posted by soelo at 1:41 PM on January 24

Expected publication July 6, 2023

I've been waiting for this for like a decade.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:48 AM on April 6


Expected publication February 6, 2024

As an aside, I was thinking of this book because I just posted The Steerswoman, which is an unfinished series as well. In both cases I feel like they both might be unfinishable, at least in a satisfying way. I'm still holding out hope in both cases.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:51 AM on April 6

Right, the first draft was turned in November '22 according to a review on Goodreads that quotes his twitter page. Of course authors don't owe us books faster then they can write them. I do wonder why he or his publishers keep teasing sequels that aren't close to being published though. There is a third Nursery Crimes book listed on Goodreads but another tweet from 2020 says: *There are no plans for further Nursery Crime novels at this time.
posted by soelo at 6:23 AM on April 7

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