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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel by…
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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel (edition 2006)

by Susanna Clarke

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
18,81454089 (3.96)1 / 742
Member:Shacco
Title:Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel
Authors:Susanna Clarke
Info:Tor Books (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 1024 sivua
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

  1. 311
    The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (billiecat, celtic)
  2. 291
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (GreenVelvet, GreenVelvet, GreenVelvet)
    GreenVelvet: Both Stardust and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell are detailed, well-written and riveting explorations of the world of fairie.
  3. 201
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (derelicious, jonathankws)
  4. 180
    Little, Big by John Crowley (VisibleGhost)
  5. 172
    The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (billiecat)
    billiecat: Clarke's descriptions of Faerie share the dreamlike qualities of Dunsany's novel.
  6. 185
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)
  7. 130
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (-Eva-)
  8. 153
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Rodo)
  9. 153
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (majkia)
    majkia: both books evoked the same sort of feeling for me.
  10. 175
    The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (ErlendSkjelten)
    ErlendSkjelten: I don't remember making this recommendation, much less why I did; they are very different books. I think I felt that they both conjured up the same mystic mood, and they are both concerned with a very British magic.
  11. 131
    Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (TheSpecialistsCat)
    TheSpecialistsCat: Both Clarke and Mirrlees lived briefly in Spain, then returned home to write about fairies and also, ostensibly, what it means to be English.
  12. 121
    Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both have the same "Jane-Austen-meets-Harry-Potter" vibe to them; "Jonathan Strange" is denser and more grown-up, while "Sorcery & Cecelia" is funnier and more of a romp.
  13. 166
    Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: Both extrememly atmospheric books, with vivid visuals and memorable characters.
  14. 124
    To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (hiredman)
  15. 103
    The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (flissp)
  16. 104
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Patangel)
  17. 71
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (spiphany)
  18. 50
    The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (Anonymous user)
  19. 50
    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Books which focus on a fascinating historical Britain, but with added fun like magicians and more.
  20. 84
    The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)

(see all 45 recommendations)

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English (527)  French (5)  Japanese (2)  Italian (2)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (540)
Showing 1-5 of 527 (next | show all)
Couldn't get past 75 pages or so. Started on the recommendation of a friend, but didn't engage me and wasn't compelled to hang on to a book that even the positive reviews say has slow sections. Passing on, unread.
  PokPok | Sep 16, 2014 |
This book was quite long but totally worth the read. Clarke zoomed in on a facet of 19th century England, and filled it with magic. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell use magic to help England's war effort. Mr. Norrell is unlike the traditionally dramatic magician- he's more like the boring professor who's class you fall asleep in. But because of his magic, he is thrust into society as the most fashionable man of his time. Needless to say, Mr. Norrell is quite out of his element. His foil, Johnathan Strange, is bold, young and daring. Only downside- sometimes the language falls into a lull. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 13, 2014 |
Hated it. Long, boring and poorly written. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
In 1806 magic is believed to be dead in England until a society of theoretical magicians uncovers Mr. Norrell, the first practicing magician of hundreds of years. Mr. Norrell is firmly in the public eye when another magician, Mr. Strange, emerges to become his student. Together, these very different magicians are tasked with returning magic to England.

That is a very rough description of a 1000 page book. Truthfully, there’s a whole lot more going on but to say too much would be leading me into giving away spoilers.

As already mentioned, this is a very long book. In fact, it’s divided into three books, each named after the important magicians in the story (Strange, Norrell, and the long ago Raven King). A warning here – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is slowly paced and slow burning. The action and pace don’t pick up until the climax in the last hundred pages or so.

So why, might you ask, would I read a book with 900 pages of build up? Because that build up is so enjoyable. Susanna Clarke is an excellent writer (she’s using the style of classic nineteenth century authors), and her writing is not without humor. I was not at all expecting it, but often I would laugh out load upon reading a line. Take this quote for instance:

“Houses, like people, are apt to become rather eccentric if left too much on their own; this house was the architectural equivalent of an old gentleman in a worn dressing-gown and torn slippers, who got up and went to bed at odd times of day, and who kept up a continual conversation with friends no one else could see.”

I love the footnotes as well. Sometimes they’re just explaining a reference to a magical text, but often they are stories within a story, like the fairy tale about the Master of Nottingham’s daughter and her quest to retrieve the magic ring. Other times she uses footnotes (as well as in text commentary) to skewer the prejudices of the age. There’s a certain irony in that Strange and Norrell are acceptable magicians because they are gentlemen, even though others such as Childermass would probably make just as good or better magicians.

If you pick this one up, you’ve got to have at least some interest in history or a liking of classic English writing like Jane Austin. If you’re looking for the usual action adventure, medieval world type fantasy, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is not for you. If you’re looking for something different, an original fantasy book, than this is the book for you.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Aug 20, 2014 |
I found the first part engaging, and the last part almost wonderful, but in between I almost gave it up. Most people seem to either love it or hate it. I can't say it caused any such extremes of emotion in me. I might actually give it 3.5 stars, but I don't want to mark it 4 because that's more than I want to give it. ( )
  IamFluff | Jul 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 527 (next | show all)
"Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" has been celebrated as an adult Harry Potter story, but it is more like a flatter and flabbier one. Chapters end with no cliff-hanging urgency, and the book is studded with unremarkable remarks. ...

Somehow, the gargantuan battle for the future of English magic does not become a matter of enormous consequence. But it does become the basis for a brand new fantasy world, an intricate and fully imagined universe of bewitching tricks. Maybe that's enough.
added by Aerrin99 | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Sep 14, 2004)
 
Her deftly assumed faux-19th century point of view will beguile cynical adult readers into losing themselves in this entertaining and sophisticated fantasy.
 
Many charmed readers will feel, as I do, that Susanna Clarke has wasted neither her energies nor our many reading hours.
 
Susanna Clarke, who resides in Cambridge, England, has spent the past decade writing the 700-plus pages of this remarkable book. She's a great admirer of Charles Dickens and has produced a work every bit as enjoyable as The Pickwick Papers, with more than a touch of the early Anne Rice thrown in for good measure.
 
"Move over, little Harry. It’s time for some real magic."
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susanna Clarkeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenberg, PortiaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
He hardly ever spoke of magic, and when he did it was like a history lesson and no one could bear to listen to him.
Dedication
In memory of my brother, Paul Frederick Gunn Clarke, 1961-2000
First words
Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.
Quotations
At sixteen she spoke -- not only French, Italian & German -- which are part of any lady's commonplace accomplishments -- but all the languages of the civilized (and uncivilized) world. She spoke the language of the Scottish Highlands (which is like singing). She spoke Basque, which is a language which rarely makes any impression upon the brains of any other race, so that a man may hear it as often and as long as he likes, but never afterwards be able to recall a single syllable of it. She even learnt the language of a strange country which, Signor Tosetti had been told, some people believed still existed, although no one in the world could say where it was. (The name of the country was Wales.)
It is also true that that his hair had a reddish tinge and, as everybody knows, no one with red hair can ever truly be said to be handsome.
"Soldiers, I am sorry to say, steal everything." He thought for a moment and then added, "Or at least ours do."
"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might," he admitted "but a gentleman never could."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0765356155, Mass Market Paperback)

It's 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke's ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke--and it's not all fairy dust. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In nineteenth-century England, all is going well for rich, reclusive Mr Norell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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