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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell November 24, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke may be the sort of book which can’t find a wide audience.  It’s really well written, but in a style which is more Victorian or Edwardian, rather than modern (figures; it’s about magicians in the first decade of the 1800s trying to find out why magic isn’t done anywhere in England…any more).  I personally like the style, having been poisoned by English Literature early in my formative years.  Really, you would have thought that Thomas Hardy would have made a lot less of an impression on an impulsive teenager, but you would be Very Wrong. I’m hardly started and I can tell already that I am going to really, really enjoy this, especially since it’s been forever since I swallowed an entire Victorian novel, even if it doesn’t contain unlikely suicides of young children.

Anyway, the windup to this story is about the juxtaposition of two magicians and their faery servants fighting more or less alongside England’s army/navy against Napoleon until their clash of styles reveals rather different motivations in each, leading to a wider war than merely all of Europe. 

Very different from The Armor of Light, the last historical-cum-fantasy story I reviewed, or The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms which is in a glorious class by itself.

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1. themisanthropologist - November 24, 2011

I really like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell…it’s, for me, quite a unique book, and has become one of my favorites of all time.


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