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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2004)

by Susanna Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
26,364752111 (3.94)1 / 1167
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.
  1. 401
    The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (billiecat, celtic)
  2. 341
    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. 241
    Little, Big by John Crowley (VisibleGhost)
  4. 231
    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (-Eva-, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Magical rivalries are at the heart of these unconventional Fantasy novels, which play out over decades and against elaborate, atmospheric 19th-century backdrops. Their initially relaxed pacing gains momentum as the various narrative threads dramatically converge.… (more)
  5. 212
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (derelicious, jonathankws)
  6. 226
    Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: Both extrememly atmospheric books, with vivid visuals and memorable characters.
  7. 171
    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. 182
    The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (billiecat)
    billiecat: Clarke's descriptions of Faerie share the dreamlike qualities of Dunsany's novel.
  9. 183
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (majkia)
    majkia: both books evoked the same sort of feeling for me.
  10. 195
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)
  11. 141
    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.
  12. 185
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Rodo)
  13. 187
    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.
  14. 100
    Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (jen.e.moore)
  15. 133
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (hiredman)
  16. 134
    The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton (flissp)
  17. 60
    The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (Anonymous user)
  18. 82
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (spiphany)
  19. 126
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Patangel)
  20. 60
    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Books which focus on a fascinating historical Britain, but with added fun like magicians and more.

(see all 63 recommendations)


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» See also 1167 mentions

English (732)  French (6)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Japanese (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (752)
Showing 1-5 of 732 (next | show all)
Incredibly captivating from beginning to end, Clarke's world is rich and deep. I was hooked from the first 50 pages and it never stopped being fascinating. This is the rare book that unquestionably lives up to the hype. ( )
  DarthFisticuffs | Sep 8, 2023 |
Overall, this was fun to read. A mix of history and pseudo-history. It reminded me of "Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies" at times how it mixed manners with magic much like PP&Z did. The ending was a little anti-climactic to me and there were other better endings I feel. But it was still enjoyable. ( )
  lieblbiz | Aug 30, 2023 |
This book is truly delightful. Written in the Victorian style Jude the Obscure or the novels of the Austen's, without falling into the trap of just simplistically spoofing the genre ala Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Not just the use of language, but also the pacing, characterization, narrative structure, and over-arching themes are carefully chosen to help maintain the illusion of a period; the author's careful research of and familiarity with the time period and its literature is apparent. Even the art has the appropriate period 'feel'. Fans of epic fantasy may be a little dissatisfied as it is consequently lacking some of the tropes they may be looking for (I.e. No systematized magic, no clear heroes journey, etc.), and besides fans of Victorian lit, fans of some of the more 'naturalistic' fantasy from before the turn of the century, especially where it sometimes crosses over with the weird fiction genre (some of the authors Lovecraft discusses in Supernatural Horror in Literature for example) will probably also really enjoy this book. If your not looking for a slow building, character driven, mystical story, I would avoid this, as I can see it being a long slog for those looking for more action. ( )
1 vote jdavidhacker | Aug 4, 2023 |
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "Quite a very, very long read. Began on vacation in July, 2007; did not finish until October (although, admittedly, the 2nd half of 2007 was quite challenging and full). Magic is revived in England, by Mr. Strange and Jonathan Strong, in time to influence the Napoleonic Wars. Interesting reading; one wonders if the book would have been successful if not for Harry Potter-ism." ( )
  MGADMJK | Jul 27, 2023 |
Powerful, if somewhat slow.
I loved the complexity of the universe and the artfulness of the language.
But mostly I loved the continuous wonder that magic induces in the reader and in the characters. One of the few real magic books out there. ( )
  kenshin79 | Jul 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 732 (next | show all)
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."
A chimera of a novel that combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien.
added by Shortride | editTime, Lev Grossman (Aug 16, 2004)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Susannaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Janiš, ViktorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenberg, PortiaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruben, PaulProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webb, WilliamCover designersecondary 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."
It may be laid down as a general rule that if a man begins to sing, no one will take any notice of his song except his fellow human beings. This is true even if his song is surpassingly beautiful. Other men may be in raptures at his skill, but the rest of creation is, by and large, unmoved. Perhaps a cat or a dog may look at him; his horse, if it is an exceptionally intelligent beast, may pause in cropping the grass, but that is the extent of it. But when the fairy sang, the whole world listened to him. Stephen felt clouds pause in their passing; he felt sleeping hills shift and murmur; he felt cold mists dance. He understood for the first time that the world is not dumb at all, but merely waiting for someone to speak to it in a language it understands. In the fairy's song the earth recognized the names by which it called itself.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Two odd magicians
restore magic to England
and go kind of nuts.
Don't ever make a
deal with a faerie – it will
not end well for you.

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