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Shades of Grey

Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
Length: 13 hrs and 31 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (287 ratings)

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Summary

"Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour.Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane - a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed.

For Eddie, it's love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey . . .If George Orwell had tripped over a paint pot or Douglas Adams favoured colour swatches instead of towels . . . neither of them would have come up with anything as eccentrically brilliant as Shades of Grey."

©2010 Jasper Fforde (P)2010 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Veronica
  • Cheltenham, United Kingdom
  • 23-01-12

Surreal, Crazy - and wonderful

If you haven't discovered Jasper Fforde yet then now's the time to start listening. Although it took me a while to get used to the voice of the narrator the quality of the writing and ease of the delivery soon had me hooked.
This story - like most of Fforde's books- is almost impossible to explain and if it sounds crazy, that’s because it is – Don’t be put off – go with it and you will not be disappointed!
Born into a society in which any colour is jealously hoarded and marrying 'down spectrum' is frowned upon, Eddie Russet (a Red) does not look destined for success...Sent to East Carmine to conduct a chair census (a punishment for trying to improve Queuing) Eddie has soon fallen for a 'Grey' girl who seems more likely to do him serious, and potentially life threatening, injury than to agree to marry, or even date him. This proves to be the least of Eddie's worries however, as he soon discovers that a tendency towards curiosity does not improve one's chances of survival - particularly when many so members of the community seem keen to hasten his demise.
Why is making spoons forbidden? Where do people really end up after 'Reboot'? Can Eddie find enough Loganberry jam to persuade the Apocryphal man to tell him the truth about the 'Something that happened' - and - the most important question of all - can he survive long enough to find out?...
Mad, funny, and brilliantly crafted, the only warning I will leave you with is that it leaves you desperate to listen to the sequel…

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I hope there is a sequel

An interesting view of the future and a different take on a class system. As usual, Jasper Fforde delivers a story that is off the wall. I didn’t want to stop listening to this and Gareth Armstrong’s narration certainly helps. I really hope there is a sequel to this as I would love to know how things progress.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 09-03-15

Absolutely brilliant... But where's the rest?

I'd given up on a previous Jasper Fforde due to appalling narration, but this was much better read, and a great story. I love the story, and it has the quirkiness of Douglas Adams without becoming parody or spiralling into nonsense. The characters are all great, and I was hooked.

Only one problem. Where's the rest of the story? It ends on a cliff-hanger, for this is part one of a trilogy. The other two? Not available as audiobooks anywhere.

If you're able to follow up this story with the hard copy of the other two books, then I'd encourage you to read them all. Unfortunately, I'm visually impaired so rely on the availability of audiobooks. Hurry up with the rest, please!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Truly a masterpiece!

I read this book seven or so years ago. I have to admit it was every bit as pleasurable this time round as when it was the first time! One of the best dystopian stories I have ever come across!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Shades of Grey is a great listen

I really enjoyed listening to this book. A very clever way of highlighting issues in our society. Also well read by the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • St Martins, United Kingdom
  • 05-01-19

Not at all what you might expect.

Brilliantly written and performed.
An ingenious premise which highlights how our fads and cultures shape our world. A tongue in cheek observation on the arbitrary values we place on classes of people. Funny, fascinating and thought provoking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • Swansea, United Kingdom
  • 31-12-18

Brilliant, thought provoking, funny

Very good book, well read and one I keep coming back to. just wish Mr Fforde would write the sequel!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A slow burner, but not to be missed

I put off reading this book for a while after my other half suggested it, just looked a bit off skew for me. Then she bought me the Audible copy for when I'm. Driving and wow, I'm glad that she did.

A brilliant book in a dystopian world which had me interest to begin with, the ideas, political structure and key characters, followed by the midsection and finale that keep making you second guess what you thought you had already learned.

Give it a go!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dicky
  • HENLEY ON THAMES, Oxon
  • 07-09-18

Jasper at his best

engaging, fun, thought provoking. excellent performance too. I'm looking forward to hearing the new Jasper Fforde book next.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Alternative but parallel reality

I have read a great deal of Jasper Fforde novels, this is my favourite.

Society is structured on how much colour you see, and of course what colour you can see. Purple is top dog, grey bottom.

You follow Eddie Russet, a hapless, naive but inquisitive young red as he is moved to the fringes of society with his 'needs humility' badge. Here he meets Jane a rather aggressive grey with a lovely nose, Jane shows Eddie that there is more to society than meets the colourless eye..

The story is full of colourful (pun intended) characters and at times bears a bit too much resemblance of our society for comfort. Definitely worth a listen and read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Judith
  • 22-03-12

You have to read it!

Would you consider the audio edition of Shades of Grey to be better than the print version?

The narrator is fantastic and adds a dimension to the story beyond the depths of my imagination - and that's deep!

What did you like best about this story?

The plot is so very clever. Simple on the surface, but with complex layers like the colour spectrum he uses as the premise of his story. Jasper has done a great job - again... and, if possible, I think better than his Thursday Next novels.

What about Gareth Armstrong’s performance did you like?

His voice and narration is charming, dynamic and extremely clever particularly given the demands of the story line and the number of characters. Wonderful. I'd listen to him talk about weeding the garden.

Who was the most memorable character of Shades of Grey and why?

Eddie Russet has to be the most memorable, both for his character development by Jasper through the story and his character portrayal by Gareth. Hard to pick though because Jane is very close.

Any additional comments?

I think if people don't read this book they have missed a brilliant story by an clever author at the top of his game. I'm giving it to friends as a gifts just to spread the love. Thanks Jasper. Marvellous.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Agnese
  • 15-03-15

My fav on Audible

So lovely pronunciation.
I would listen to this again and again.
I hate the world because it made famous 50 shades of grey instead of Shades of grey. So so horrible world.

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  • Jess
  • 21-01-13

As Jasper himself would have read it!

Would you consider the audio edition of Shades of Grey to be better than the print version?

I like them both, but the audio version really did bring the book to life. I especially enjoyed all the different voices by Gareth Armstrong.

What other book might you compare Shades of Grey to and why?

The Eyre Affair and The Big Over Easy by the same author. He takes you to a completely different place with each novel, and keeps it going at a rollicking pace, making it a good, fun read.

What about Gareth Armstrong’s performance did you like?

He was spot on with all the voices, adding a little venom here, a little uncertainty there, and was an absolute pleasure to listen to.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Perception is everything,

Any additional comments?

I can't recommend this highly enough - it was a wonderful thing to listen to in the car (I put it on my iPhone and listened through the car speakers), and highly entertaining.