Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell By Susanna Clarke am Books Sus

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell By Susanna Clarke am Books Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959 A nomadic childhood was spent in towns in Northern England and Scotland She was educated at St Hilda s College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of non fiction publishing, including Gordon Fraser and Quarto In 1990, she left London and went to Turin to teach English to stressed out executives of the Fiat motor company The following year she taught English in Bilbao.She returned to England in 1992 and spent the rest of that year in County Durham, in a house that looked out over the North Sea There she began working on her first novel, Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell.From 1993 to 2003, Susanna Clarke was an editor at Simon and Schuster s Cambridge office, where she worked on their cookery list She has published seven short stories and novellas in US anthologies One, The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse, first appeared in a limited edition, illustrated chapbook from Green Man Press Another, Mr Simonelli or The Fairy Widower, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award in 2001.She lives in Cambridge with her partner, the novelist and reviewer Colin Greenland.. Two magicians shall appear in England The first shall fear me the second shall long to behold meThe year is 1806 England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation s past But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send aTwo magicians shall appear in England The first shall fear me the second shall long to behold meThe year is 1806 England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation s past But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause trouble than they can imagine.. Bestseller Book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Sigh, just what we need, another revolutionary, unusual fantasy book by an author with a practiced mastery of tone. When will authors like Clarke realize that what the fantasy genre needs are more pseudo-medieval monomyths that sprawl out into fifteen volumes?Her magic didn't conveniently solve all of the characters' problems, instead, they wasted time thinking through conflicts and then had to solve them by taking action; how dull is that? The magic was weird, anyways. It didn't have a simplistic, internal system to allow it to act as a one-for-one substitute with technology, it was just all unpredictable and otherworldly and unknowable--how can you even call that 'magic'?And the characters were overly-complicated. Instead of acting as recognizable archetypes, they were complex, conflicted, and developed as the story progressed. For some reason, they also seemed hesitant to fall back on the default plan of attacking anything that gets in their way, which was probably why this book was so long. I guess they just didn't have a strong enough sense of honor to instantly kill anyone who opposed them.And then, instead of having her characters laboriously explain how the world worked to each other, she made brief mentions in footnotes, as if she were writing a history. I'm not sure why she made this decision, I often explain to my friends in basic terms how cars and money work in our culture, so it's clear that endless expositionary dialogue is the most realistic way to inform the reader. I mean, I guess you could just have the omniscient narrator tell us everything in detail, that's almost as good.Come to think of it, this book had a lot of history stuff, it was almost like she had read a whole bunch about the period her book was set in, which is such a waste of time, because if that's what I wanted, I'd just read a history book. I mean sure, the author could take some vague things from a period, but otherwise they should just treat everything as if it were the modern day so it'll make sense. Besides, if she had any errors, she could just remind us that 'it's fiction!', so it's all fake anyways and it's pointless to try to make it seem real.I guess she thought she was Jane Austen, or something, gradually building a tonal portrait of the world and revealing the characters through details of action and conversation. I don't know why she would try to write like those boring, old, dead authors, they wouldn't have to make us read them in school if they were good.I should have known it was going to be bad when I saw it had footnotes in it, like a textbook or something, but I tried not to read any of them because I didn't want to accidentally learn some stupid fact (and then be STUCK with it FOREVER), because I'm saving up that brain space to memorize the lineage of the ninth house of the Dragonpriests of Ur, or maybe which incantation can counterspell the splash damage effect of a lesser draconic fireball.So the whole book, I kept waiting for one of the women to be raped (or at the very least threatened with rape), or maybe enslaved, or for someone to be put in a collar and tortured by a woman in leather, or to be spanked in public as part of some cultural ritual, or to walk through flames while spraying breastmilk everywhere, or some other perfectly normal expression of human sexuality, but don't bother waiting, you'll only be disappointed. Really, the only thing that could have made it worse is if it were illustrated by Charles Vess, like the equally hopeless sequel.So yeah, basically this book is WAY TOO LONG! I mean, it was totally worth it for me to read the first five twelve-hundred-page books of the Dragonkingspell Cycle (it starts to get good at book six), but that's nothing compared to how much it tried my patience to read this book. I probably wouldn't have been able to finish it if I didn't need something to read while waiting twelve years for Jeb R.R.R. Franzibald to finish book seven.But I guess if you like a well-researched, historically accurate book that doesn't tell the same, familiar story, doesn't use magic as a plot facilitator, reads like a Gothic novel, slowly builds the story based on psychologically-developed characters, and is obsessed with tone, then this is the book for you! Congratulations.Otherwise, you can sit around with me and hope the author of our favorite series doesn't die before finishing vol. XVIII of The Epic Magic Sword of the Undead Dragon Throne Saga Duovigintilogy, where we will finally discover whether the badass, outcast, swordmaster, dragonrider assassin prince defeats the great evil, once and for all (with the help of his trusty albino wolf/girlfriend, of course).My Fantasy Book Suggestions

About Author

  1. Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959 A nomadic childhood was spent in towns in Northern England and Scotland She was educated at St Hilda s College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of non fiction publishing, including Gordon Fraser and Quarto In 1990, she left London and went to Turin to teach English to stressed out executives of the Fiat motor company The following year she taught English in Bilbao.She returned to England in 1992 and spent the rest of that year in County Durham, in a house that looked out over the North Sea There she began working on her first novel, Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell.From 1993 to 2003, Susanna Clarke was an editor at Simon and Schuster s Cambridge office, where she worked on their cookery list She has published seven short stories and novellas in US anthologies One, The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse, first appeared in a limited edition, illustrated chapbook from Green Man Press Another, Mr Simonelli or The Fairy Widower, was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award in 2001.She lives in Cambridge with her partner, the novelist and reviewer Colin Greenland.

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Comment

  1. Sigh, just what we need, another revolutionary, unusual fantasy book by an author with a practiced mastery of tone When will authors like Clarke realize that what the fantasy genre needs are pseudo medieval monomyths that sprawl out into fifteen volumes Her magic didn t conveniently solve all of the characters problems, instead, they wasted time thinking through conflicts and then had to solve them by taking action how dull is that The magic was weird, anyways It didn t have a simplistic, inter [...]


  2. Without a doubt the best book I have read this year I write that without hesitation and with a beaming smile on my face Incredible Enthralling Amazing The book was over 800 pages long and it did not seem long enough When I finished the book, I immediately turned out the light and tried to drift off to sleep, because I knew nothing else I did that night was going to top the feeling I got after blowing through the last 100 pages like a madwoman I want to start it over again, immediately.The book i [...]


  3. I so wanted to like this book The idea is just wonderful I was so pleased for a while to be in that world, a historical England I love the dialogue and descriptions And I love the idea of magic in an otherwise real setting, as though it were a normal part of our actual world But it was so frustrating to read after a while The footnotes, auuuugh, the footnotes They were cute at first, because the book is written sort of like a history book from that period But after a while they were just so long [...]


  4. Although Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell turns out to be a book I dearly love, I m afraid I can t recommend it to just anyone Whether you ll like it or not will truly depend on what you expect it to be If you wish for a fast paced excitement then this book is probably not for you Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a blend of meticulously researched historical fiction and imaginative fantasy, sprinkled here and there with biting social comedy, and written in a style similar to Austen s, which is, [...]


  5. Jesus Christ, this book reads like molasses It s like the author took every book from her Brit Lit class and consciously tried to make it wordier and longer than all of them combined I get the point she wants to make, but I honestly could not get past the second chapter It also was so incredibly pretentious The whole thing has this superior feel, like having a conversation with someone who is absolutely reassured of how much smarter they are than you It left me feeling bored, stupid, depressed a [...]


  6. Book like this are not written any This feels like it should have been published in the nineteenth century and not because of the obvious setting, but because of the remarkable writing style It is very similar to Austen s that I m sure she might have been delighted by Clarke s work Well, maybe But, either way novelists like this do not exist in this age, unfortunately The writing has the feel of a classic, but the plot has the feel of a thoroughly charming fantasy.This is a work of complete magi [...]


  7. If a novel of nearly 900 pages can be summarised in one phrase then Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell may, I think, be described as a stately, sly, witty, intricate, comic retelling of Dracula, with digressions and very little blood.Count Dracula takes life from beautiful young ladies, enslaves them, enchants them, enraptures them, steals them away, into his own twilight oops, sorry vampire world they become something other than what they were, undead, not alive yet not dead, creatures which do his bi [...]


  8. Neil Gaiman said that this book is hard to overpraise , I will make an attempt thus While I was reading the second half of this book it occurred to me that I don t actually need to read any other novel ever again, I could just read this one book over and over again for the rest of my days and when the Grim Reaper calls I shall have this book clutched possessively in my stiff, unyielding fingers.Momentary insanity of course, but it is indicative of the devotion I feel toward this book With in the [...]


  9. If a writer is going to publish a book this big thousand plus pages then it must be very good, or the readers will never know about the thousands plus pages beyond the heft as they toss it aside or by the thickness as it is put back on the shelf.This book is that good.Using language correct for the time period Napoleonic Wards era, early 1800s and richly complex characterizations reminiscent of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, author Susanna Clarke has crafted a gem It was the winner of and nomin [...]


  10. the hero of this novel, Mr Norrell, is in many ways a stranger in a strange land, uncomfortable with base emotions and disappointed with the shabbiness and inadequacies of others yet always yearning for true companionship a dignified, erudite, and refined gentleman quietly soulful and elegantly restrained commanding in his encyclopedic knowledge of the magical arts the other character, a fey and unreliable sort apparently named Jonathan Strange , offers fleeting friendship that is quickly fritte [...]


  11. In the beginning was a preface, and then an introduction, followed by some exposition, and then an opening Looking through the reviews, it appears many people either adore it or hate it Frankly, I m in neither camp, because I can t work up enough emotion to care It took a long time to become interested, and I finally had to resort to a strategy of reading only a few chapters at a time, setting free any expectation that this was a book that would pull me in and never let me go It became the perfe [...]


  12. Also posted on Fantasy Literature Tadiana This book is like a mashup of Jane Austen, or maybe Charles Dickens, and fantasy, with Regency era British magicians and charming, vindictive and devious faeries It creates an incredibly rich, complex and detailed fantasy world the Raven King mythology is fantastic The main plotline of this novel deals with the on and off friendship between two very different magicians Mr Norrell, who is bookish, stuffy and reclusive, and Jonathan Strange, who s a younge [...]


  13. In the early part of the nineteenth century there arose in northern England, well one by the border of Wales two powerful magicians, old bookworm Gilbert Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey, always reading in his immense, dark library, obscure, ancient, dusty books on the subject that he cares only about, magic, and young, tall Jonathan Strange, who inherited like his future short friend, tutor and rival Mr Norrell, not interested then, in wizardry a vast amount of property and money Around the city of Yor [...]


  14. Lately I became very fond of static pictures in my reviews This book will have none It deserves a very serious discussion and I feel the inclusion of pictures would provide a distraction from such The best description of the book would be the following Suppose Charles Dickens and Jane Austen had a love child a daughter A publisher was so thrilled by this that he promised to pay for a novel written by the daughter for each written word The latter realized it would be a good time to take care of t [...]


  15. I finally finished My paperback was than 1,000 pages long, so this is a triumph Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell is a book that I started out loving, but the middle part dragged so much that I grew impatient for the story to end I feel so differently about the two halves of the book that I wish I could issue two ratings.Let s start with what I liked about this novel Susanna Clarke has a great imagination and a good sense of humor The story is set in the early 1800s in England and follows the adventu [...]


  16. After a hiatus of several centuries since it was actively practiced, magic is back in early 19th century England Clarke has created an alternate, magical history, in which England had once been divided between north and south, and a temporal and a fairy kingdom Stuffy intellectuals satisfy themselves with studying the writings of the past, forming debating societies But in 1807 a person emerges who dares to actually practice magic.Eddie Marsden as Mr Norrell from AMC networksMr Norrell is an arr [...]


  17. Tired of your workaday lives,Need to get away for a while Come, sit a spellLet Susanna tell you a story.We go to England in the 1800 s, a time of the Napoleonic Wars, a time when most people believe magic to be dead in England Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell are two magicians attempting, each in their own way, to change that and restore magic to England I can admit that it took me a while to find my legs here, acquire my own rhythm with the writing and the story In many ways this reads like a histor [...]


  18. This slow burn historical fantasy it really isn t a proper historical fantasy it s really told much as a straight historical and the fantasy is bonus is one of the best novels I ve read ever Clarke never breaks voice or changes her slow, relentless pacing It s a novel meant to be savored over the course of a month, not rushed through so that you can properly appreciate the rush of the climax wondering why all my reviews are five stars Because I m only reviewing my favorite books not every book [...]


  19. Most books are not for everyone, and it can occasionally be hard to determine from a cover, a blurb, a sample chapter if something will be for you or not And even if you believe something is for you, the book still needs to reveal and unfold and delight and surprise and strike emotional chords and climax and conclude to your satisfaction by its end, all while also possessing a writing style you respond to or at least does not detract from your enjoyment So its sometimes a wonder we like any book [...]


  20. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is Susanna Clarke s bestselling Fantasy History Novel And it is amazing, astounding, supertastical, and brilliant These are all just a handful of the real and created adjectives possible to throw at this tome Were one to enter into an adjective war this book would defeat them hands down For the potency of the words inside is incredible And having done so would commence to bury in a pile of prose so powerful that I would be diabolically destroyed.Jonathan Strange a [...]


  21. I have quite some things to say and so little time in which to say these And now we have the great year of Proust may be some time before these things are said, time being what it is, holidays being what they are, and my thoughts being scattered as usual.So perhaps it s best to attempt the following Comparisons with Austen are appropriate for the social commentary and the at times gently and perhaps not so gently snide remarks the narrator makes about the actions of the characters But this is no [...]


  22. and the kitchen sinkmultaneously contemptuous and admiring of georgian culture and society, and possessed of many, many insights into the black heart of humankind, this book left me in a state of despair shot through with occasional palpitations of humor and excitement.on the whole, a vastly self indulgent work and as impressed with itself as we re meant to bee footnotes, see i love footnotes but unlike, say, infinite jest, whose footnotes were by and large interesting and germane, these were mo [...]


  23. At page 246, I m throwing the towel in on this one It s not that it s bad, it s really not I just can t seem to get excited about it, and after this many pages, I want to be eager to pick it up I m just not interested enough to find out what happens in the next 500 pages or so I have so many other books screaming for my attention Now this book is classified as fantasy and I don t usually read this genre That s not to say I have never enjoyed a fantasy novel I have in fact enjoyed a handful In f [...]


  24. 4 4.5 starsFantastic story One of the few that actually lives up to the hype Be warned though this is a loooong book and it is true that, from one point of view at least, it can be said that not too much happens in it The title tells us what the two main sections of the book will cover the lives of the last two true magicians in an alternate 19th century Britain They are the bookish, annoying and altogether full of himself Mr Norrell and the flighty, brilliant and altogether full of himself Jona [...]


  25. I d heard for a long time how amazing this book was, and I was decidedly unmoved by it I did read the whole thing, and at 800 pages, that felt like an accomplishment Clarke obviously put a lot of work into the back story, creating an entire historical library of magic that is cited in footnotes throughout That kind of detailed work is, i suppose, admirable However, I found the two main characters rich white English men boring I couldn t bring myself to really care what happened to them, as the c [...]


  26. Let us start at the beginning, shall we I ve seen the Jane Austen comparisons, and for a while, that was the truest description of the book Oh, you had your magic, but it was all very clean cut and bureaucratic and properly filed out in a mix of social gatherings and book references All very English, is the closest I can get to a suitable description And so I resigned myself to collecting witty quotes while perusing a charming yet not so remarkable tale of gentlemen magicians.Lucky for me, thing [...]


  27. ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.Let me say two things about Jonathan Strange Mr Norell 1 This is one of the finest novels I have ever read Ever.2 You might hate it.Okay, let me say I listened to this book on audio and, because of the language and humor, I was delighted from the very start I listened for 32 hours and approximately 25 of those hours are rather slow Interesting stuff happens, but nothing that s going to put you on the edge of your seat It s leisurely and teasing It s not c [...]


  28. Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma which reading list to follow it up with Variety is the spice of life, so I ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously This book falls into my HUGO WINNERS list.This is the reading list that follows the old adage, if it ain t broke, don t fix it I loved reading the Locus Sci Fi Award winners so I m going to crack on with the Hugo winners next but only the post 1980 winners, I ll follow up with pre 198 [...]


  29. The first adjectives which spring to mind when describing Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell are large, weighty, cumbersome, brickish, dense and leaden Cheerfully these words relate to the 1006 page monster that this book is, not to the actual word content which is generally quite light, bright and breezy I note some of the quoted reviewers within the printed brick said that this book had a sinister side Well maybe, but only if you consider your own shadow slightly creepy and are scared by small ch [...]


  30. I suppose a magician might kill a man by magic, but a gentleman never would No other sentence quite sums up the atmosphere of Strange Norrell The tale of the two men, who in the early years of the nineteenth century, were destined to bring magic back into England Told at a beautifully measured pace, in the verbose Dickensian style, the book oozes atmosphere Redolent with footnotes, the facsimile of a scientific memoir where science has been replaced with magic Much like the science of the age we [...]


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