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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna…

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (edition 2009)

by Susanna Clarke, Neil Gaiman (Introduction)

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18,615None89 (3.97)1 / 720
Title:Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Authors:Susanna Clarke
Other authors:Neil Gaiman (Introduction)
Info:Bloomsbury USA (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 864 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

19th century (249) 21st century (91) alternate history (487) British (208) England (581) English (99) faerie (183) fairies (181) fantasy (3,365) fiction (2,535) hardcover (97) historical (269) historical fantasy (161) historical fiction (544) history (75) literature (85) London (113) magic (1,237) magicians (332) Napoleonic Wars (167) novel (367) own (125) read (261) regency (69) science fiction (101) sff (140) to-read (392) unread (260) Victorian (92) wizards (93)
  1. 290
    The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (billiecat, celtic)
  2. 270
    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. 191
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (derelicious, jonathankws)
  4. 170
    Little, Big by John Crowley (VisibleGhost)
  5. 130
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (-Eva-)
  6. 152
    The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (billiecat)
    billiecat: Clarke's descriptions of Faerie share the dreamlike qualities of Dunsany's novel.
  7. 120
    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.
  8. 175
    The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (Obdormio)
    Obdormio: 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.
  9. 175
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)
  10. 143
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Rodo)
  11. 143
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (majkia)
    majkia: both books evoked the same sort of feeling for me.
  12. 155
    Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: Both extrememly atmospheric books, with vivid visuals and memorable characters.
  13. 111
    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.
  14. 103
    The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (flissp)
  15. 104
    To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (hiredman)
  16. 71
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (spiphany)
  17. 94
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Patangel)
  18. 50
    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Books which focus on a fascinating historical Britain, but with added fun like magicians and more.
  19. 40
    The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (Anonymous user)
  20. 84
    The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)

(see all 44 recommendations)


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English (511)  French (5)  Italian (3)  Japanese (2)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (525)
Showing 1-5 of 511 (next | show all)
Ci è voluto un po', prima che cominciassi ad apprezzare il romanzo. Il ritmo, soprattutto all'inizio è quasi esasperante, da quanto è lento. Stavo cominciando a domandarmi se sarebbe mai successo qualcosa, quando Mr Norrel riporta in vita Ms Pole con un patto fatto con un essere fatato, consegnandogli in ostaggio il dito mignolo di lei. Evviva! Finalmente. A questo punto la storia comincia a entrare nel vivo, specialmente dopo l'entrata in scena di Jonathan Strange :) Ho nutrito sentimenti ambivalenti nei confronti di Mr Norrel: a momenti mi faceva tenerezza, ma molto più spesso mi ha fatta arriabbiare :) Il signor Strange invece è un personaggio spettacolare :)
Quindi, se avete intenzione di leggere questo bel romanzo, sappiate che ci vorrà un po' (anche perché siamo nell'ordine di quasi mille pagine, dense di note a pié pagina!), ma sarà un bel viaggio :) ( )
  Manua | Apr 10, 2014 |
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 more. 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 clear how all of the characters and plots relate to each other. If you're ready for action, it's a bit frustrating. But the action finally does arrive and all of the characters and plots finally come together in an unexpected and satisfying way. Looking back, you realize that the plot was clever and quite tight all along.

What kept me going was that the writing is absolutely glorious. Susanna Clarke writes like Charles Dickens or Jane Austen or one of those other 19th century English novelists who we love because of the insightful and subtly witty social commentary and the plain but elegant writing style. She's right up there with the best. In fact, I can't think of anyone who writes better than Susanna Clarke. Not Tolkien, not Le Guin, not Bujold. And for this reason, I must give the book 5 stars. It is a superb novel.

Particularly fun were a few devices that I really enjoyed such as the intrusive narrator somewhat reminiscent of Thackeray's Vanity Fair, fictional characters interacting with real historical figures (Lord Byron was my favorite), and a few little alternate explanations of how some historical events in arts and literature came to be (I won't give you any examples because discovering them is the fun part).

The audiobook is also superb. The reader, Simon Prebble, is English (in case you couldn't tell by his name), and his diction, pace, and voices are perfect. I love the voice he uses for the more uncouth characters -- it just sounds slimy. This was a great novel to listen to--Mr. Prebble's voices add to the dry humor--but keep in mind that it will take you 32 hours. It's quite a time investment, but well worth it.

So, I recommend that you read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell when you have the time to be patient and when you're in the mood to be delighted by a long elegant English novel. If you're in a hurry, or if you're in the mood for quests, orphan boys, sword-fighting, or dragons, don't bother.

This is the perfect book for the right reader. I can't wait to see what Susanna Clarke does next -- she's brilliant!

Read more Susanna Clarke book reviews at Fantasy Literature . ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book, and need to read it again. My recollection is that the scenes with the main characters together were by far the best part of the book, and I wished there had been more of them. ( )
  rainidontmind | Mar 14, 2014 |
Ok, I really loved the premise of this book. I think I read somewhere that it was like Harry Potter meets Jane Austen. The only problem is that it is SO long. It took me two months to finish it - I usually finish books in a week or less, maybe two if I'm especially busy. Again, the story is wonderful, and I was amazed at how well the author wove historical events into the plot. Just be aware that reading this book is quite the undertaking. ( )
  joyhclark | Mar 13, 2014 |
It's interesting to see that the reviews for this book are all over the map. People seem to either love it, or find it incredibly pretentious and boring. I LOVED this book. I listened to it in audio (32 + hours), but did not find my mind wandering or have that urge to fast forward a few pages. It offered so much that I enjoy in a good book - good historical fiction (and the Napoleonic era, another big plus), that detailed style so often seen with Victorian authors, funny, but subtle British humor, a bit of myth about ancient times and faerie, and best of all, a thrilling plot with magic. Can't wait to see more from this author. Loved it! ( )
1 vote jmoncton | Mar 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 511 (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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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.
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.
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."
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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)

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"Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic." "Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats."."But the partnership soon turns to rivalry. Mr Norrell has never conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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