Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke


Susanna Clarke lives in Cambridge. This is her first novel.

Note: Shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and Guardian First Book Award

The book in one sentence: Extremely long-winded and dull book about some two magicians.

Who would you recommend it to: Fantasy readers who aren’t put off by a 900-page slow-action book.

OK bits: I don’t know. I stopped before the 100-page mark. Well, okay, the bit where Mr Norrell shows his magic to the magicians in the church was not so bad.

Boring bits: The rest of what I’ve read.

Random review quote:

“Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. It’s funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow – a delight to read” — Neil Gaiman

Verdict: One man’s meat, another man’s poison. This is my arsenic, obviously.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sparrow52
    Jul 14, 2007 @ 02:43:28

    I had the same reaction to the book. On my first attempt, I made it to just about 100 pages. A few months later I went back to it and got probably 1/4 of the way through and then lost interest. I haven’t picked it up again, but it keeps glaring at me from the shelf.
    Please send me your new url when you have it.

    nylusmilk: maybe third time’s the charm? 😉 will do that!


  2. lovelyloey
    Jul 14, 2007 @ 07:49:49

    Hoho, don’t you just love the tiny footnotes?
    Read this in 2005. Think will re-read it again when time permits. Maybe you can try “Ladies of Grace Adieu” by the same author; it’s a collection of short stories on magic and faeries.

    nylusmilk: adore them. 👿 faeries sound good, but if it’s anything like this book… !


  3. RhiGirl
    Jul 17, 2007 @ 12:24:42

    I got to page 223 and quit. I love the language she uses, but it’s not my cup of tea. Gaiman’s stuff is much more palatable.

    nylusmilk: reading this book just makes me more reluctant to delve into fantasy lit. i’m reading very slowly sabriel by garth nix. but i’ll take your word and try neil gaiman if i do get the chance. 🙂


  4. Sarah
    Jul 17, 2007 @ 19:02:01

    I love this book. I like the footnotes too although it was a bit distracting.

    I see that you’re reading Sabriel which is a great read. If you like it, read Lirael and Abhorsen to complete the trilogy.

    nylusmlk: majorly distracting, i had to read the chapter all over again after reading the footnote ‘cos i’ve forgotten the plot! haha.

    i hope i like it too, ‘cos many people told me it’s a good book. then again they said the same thing about jon strange!


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