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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories…

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Susanna Clarke

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2,988931,911 (3.87)173
Title:The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories
Authors:Susanna Clarke
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2007), Edition: Export ed, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, Bookmooch

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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (2006)

Recently added byadrianmartin, paupersgrave, private library, sirpet, tayitude, Alexiea, walksaloneatnight
  1. 132
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (billiecat, celtic)
  2. 80
    Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (Larkken)
    Larkken: The short stories contained in each anthology have a similar feel, and both, to some degree, play with traditional fairy tale themes. Clarke's novel benefits from reading her debut novel, as this collection is placed in the same world.
  3. 80
    The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (billiecat)
  4. 40
    Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by W. B. Yeats (billiecat)
  5. 30
    Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (paradoxosalpha)
  6. 20
    Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (Jannes)
    Jannes: A wonderful tale about elves, humans and the delicate balance between them, written in the same florid and fariy-tale-esque vein that both Dunsany and Clarke uses so effectively.
  7. 10
    Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link (jujuvail)
  8. 00
    Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner (Michael.Rimmer)
  9. 14
    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling (norabelle414)

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» See also 173 mentions

English (92)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)

I really enjoyed reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell as it was once of the books that surprised me in 2012. So, it was clear I wanted to read this book as well. I had actually been hoping on a full length sequel that could bring back the fantastic atmosphere from the book, but as that is not possible for now, I'm at least very happy with this set of lovely short stories, some of which are set in the same time as JS&MrN, but all are written is that same style that is so wonderful and impressive. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
Bizarre, enchanting short stories.
  BooksCatsEtc | Jan 3, 2015 |
Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was one of the most roundly acclaimed fantasy novels written in the past few decades, winning the Hugo Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and deservedly so. It’s particularly amazing given that it was Clarke’s debut, and twelve years later it remains her only novel. I’ve often thought it must be intimidating to try something once and have it meet with overwhelming success, which is perhaps why her second book, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, is a collection of short stories which run more or less along the same lines as Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

It’s solid and enjoyable in the same way that the great novel is, although, as with any collection of short stories, they’re never quite as good as a novel. This is further emphasised because half the fun of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was the sheer vastness of it, the voluminous prose, the epic sense; the style doesn’t work quite so well in the format of a short story. It’s telling that my two favourite stories in this collection (“Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower” and “Tom Brightwind or How the Bridge was Built at Thoresby”) are also the longest.

But in any case, I enjoyed the book and can easily recommend it to anybody who liked Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. On the other hand, though, I can also see how somebody apprehensive about Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’s size might try this as a sample for Clarke’s writing style and her magical, alternate history England. That would be a mistake – it’s just not quite the same. ( )
  edgeworth | Dec 31, 2014 |
Like all short story collections, The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a mixed bag. While it does not have any truly horrible stories, there are some that are mediocre (along with some rather wonderful ones.)

These stories are set in the same world of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but they are independent stories and can be read as such. If you’re wary of picking up the 1,000 pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, you might want to try out these stories first to get an idea of how she writes.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell showed how wonderfully Susanna Clarke craft her writing style, but The Ladies of Grace Adieu showed her impressive ability to craft unique voices for her narrators. This quality is what made “On Lickerish Hill” my favorite story of the bunch. While it’s basically the Rumpelstiltskin story, I really came to enjoy the young woman who narrated it. She was wonderfully entertaining and clever, even if I did have some trouble with the 17th century spelling.

“The Ladies of Grace Adieu” was an excerpt from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell that did not make it into the novel but that is referenced in a footnote. The story concerns three lady magicians in a Regency era England that did not view magic as an appropriate pastime for women.

“Mrs Mabb” follows the exploits of Venetia Moore as she goes head to head with the mysterious Mrs. Mabb.

“The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse” actually uses a setting from Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. In it, the Duke of Wellington ventures into fairy land to recover his horse. It’s probably the shortest story in the collection, and I found it to be amusing.

The narrator of “Mr Simonelli, or the Fairy Widower” is not a very pleasant person, but once again, Susanna Clarke does a wonderful job of crafting his voice through his diary entries.

I felt the last three stories to be the weakest. “Tom Brightwind, or How the Fairy Bridge was Built at Thoresby” was probably my least favorite. It didn’t go anywhere unexpected and didn’t have the same feel of the others. The characters themselves also didn’t come alive; Tom Brightwind in particular felt like the standard Susanna Clarke fairy. “Antickes and Frets” and “John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner” were both a bit better, but I still found them weaker than the beginning stories.

Interestingly, the many stories with female protagonists provide a different viewpoint than her novel, which focuses on the male magicians.

Also, The Ladies of Grace Adieu is illustrated by Charles Vess! I adore these illustrations. They’re these beautiful pen and ink drawings that go so well with the stories.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Nov 12, 2014 |
I finally sat down with Clarke's second, the Ladies of Grace Adieu. I'm fairly certain I waited as long as I did because I was afraid I'd be disappointed. Because Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is one of my favorites.

And I kind of was and kind of was not. The short story collection definitely did not blow me away. But it was also really well done, really well written, well imagined. Each of the stories advances the world Clarke's created, or a version of the world. It feels almost like anecdotes that you might have heard told by characters from Jonathan Strange's world... fables, tales, stories.

The writing is, of course, immaculate. The story-telling is good.. great, even. The collection read quickly, and each story felt complete in its own right. I'm not sure what more I wanted, but it seems that I did want something more. When I was done, I felt it was sort of anti-climactic.

So, I would definitely recommend to Clarke fans and people who would be Clarke fans (but who just haven't had the good sense to read her yet ;)), but with the note that it is good, really good, great, but not as satisfying and fulfilling as Strange & Norrell...

Overall, FOUR of five stars. ( )
  avanders | Jul 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
In the end, Ladies of Grace weaves a similar magic as Jonathan Strange, but perhaps the book is not magical enough.
added by Shortride | editBookmarks Magazine (Jan 1, 2007)
Whether it takes 10 months or 10 years to produce her next full-length work, Susanna Clarke is a better writer than this showcase would have you believe. Devotees and completist fans of Strange and Norrell will want to get their hands on this book, but the rest will probably want to wait.
They are uniformly clever and meticulously composed, knowledgeable of folk traditions while giving them a modern spin.
"Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower" is the most authentically creepy story here. A tale of a fairy who kidnaps young women and consigns them to the direst conditions imaginable, it wanders into Stephen King territory, though without the overt gore. "John Uskglass and the Cambrian Charcoal Burner" is a perfectly constructed fable with a witty, judicious outcome.
Clarke, in following her 800-page bestseller with these short pieces, is engaged in an experiment, and it isn't entirely successful.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susanna Clarkeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vess, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Faerie is never as far away as you think. Sometimes you find you have crossed an invisible line and must cope, as best you can, with petulant princesses, vengeful owls, ladies who pass their time embroidering terrible fates, or with endless paths in deep dark woods and houses that never appear the same way twice.

The heroines and heroes bedevilled by such problems in these fairy tales include a conceited Regency clergyman, an eighteenth-century Jewish doctor and Mary Queen of Scots, as well as two characters from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: Strange himself and the Raven King.
For my parents, Janet and Stuart Clarke
First words
Introduction by Professor James Sutherland, Director of Sidhe Studies, University of Aberdeen:
I have approached this collection with two very modest aims in mind. The first is to throw some sort of light on the development of magic in the British Isles at different periods; the second is to introduce the reader to some of the ways in which Faerie can impinge upon our own quotidian world, in other words to create a sort of primer to Faerie and fairies.
Above all remember this: that magic belongs as much to the heart as to the head and everything which is done, should be done from love or joy or righteous anger.
Magic, madam, is like wine and, if you are not used to it, it will make you drunk.
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"Susanna Clarke returns with an enchanting collection brimming with all the ingredients' of good fairy tales: petulant princesses, vengeful owls, ladies who pass their time in embroidering terrible fates, endless paths in deep, dark woods, and houses that never appear the same way twice. The heroines and heroes who must grapple with these problems include the Duke of Wellington, a conceited Regency clergyman, an eighteenth-century Jewish doctor, and Mary, Queen of Scots, as well as Jonathan Strange and the Raven King."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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