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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2004)

by Susanna Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,873726105 (3.95)1 / 1126
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. 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.
  7. 226
    Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: Both extrememly atmospheric books, with vivid visuals and memorable characters.
  8. 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.
  9. 183
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (majkia)
    majkia: both books evoked the same sort of feeling for me.
  10. 185
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Rodo)
  11. 185
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)
  12. 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.
  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
    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Books which focus on a fascinating historical Britain, but with added fun like magicians and more.
  18. 126
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Patangel)
  19. 82
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (spiphany)
  20. 60
    The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (Anonymous user)

(see all 60 recommendations)

To Read (12)

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English (709)  French (5)  Japanese (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (2)  All languages (726)
Showing 1-5 of 709 (next | show all)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (2004)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
Me he debatido seriamente entre las 3 y las 4 estrellas y me he decidido a ser benevolente porque la última tercera parte del libro me ha parecido soberbia y ha compensado, en cierta manera, la inacción de las otras 600 páginas. No termino de explicarme cuál es la intención de la autora cuando no presenta a uno de los personajes principales hasta que estamos 300 páginas dentro de la trama y, si a esta forma de narración algunos podrían llamarla genialidad, a mí me parece excentricidad pura y dura.

Las dos primeras partes del libro son una novela costumbrista sobre magos ingleses en una época determinada; bueno, pasan algunas cosas, pero la sensación de que son poco importantes permanece latente y casi te da ganas de tirar el libro a la hoguera: no es que esté mal escrito, es que no es lo que parecía prometer. Por suerte el carisma de algunos de los personajes evita que lo hagas y te permite llegar hasta esa última parte del libro que casi te hace pensar en las escenas más épicas de Raistlin y... Mejor no sigo, que no quiero desvelar nada a los que no lo hayan leído.

Es un libro que mola bastante, pero todo ocurre muy despacio y le sobran la mitad de las páginas, especialmente las dichosas notas al pie con las que podría haber construido otro libro de acompañamiento y haber duplicado sus ventas. Escasa visión de negocio. ( )
  tecniferio | May 12, 2022 |
The (softback) edition I have comes in at just over 1000 pages, and this is one of the reasons that it has been sitting on my bookshelf for a number of years now, occasionally glaring at me and daring me to pick it up and read it.[return][return]I am glad that I have read it, and it is not like any book I have read before. Excellent for a first book, there is humour, romance, history (some of which I hope is made up!), and most importantly of all magic, and lots of it. The footnotes are as important as the main text, and all shows an attention to detail that I dont know if the author will ever achieve again, purely for the amount of time this book must have already taken from her.[return][return]The only book I can realistically compare it to (in terms of length, scope etc) is "The Crimson Petal and the White", which I think is another debut novel. Have to admit that whilst I thought "Crimson" finished too soon, in a way I was glad that "Jonathan" did, although I was satisfied with the openness of the ending and the potential of more. ( )
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
I'm honestly not sure I would've enjoyed this nearly as much if I hadn't experienced it via the audiobook. I have a lot of patience for long, meandering histories and classics, but a long, meandering alternate history? With its fabricated facts and magical history woven into actual historical events and a plot that doesn't go anywhere for two-thirds of the book? Reading it myself, I believe I would've decided that the whole project was self-indulgent and twee, and if I finished it at all, my sense of the author's successes would've been greatly overshadowed by my annoyance at her approach and style.

That approach and style works incredibly well as an audiobook, however. Narrator Simon Prebble creates a unique voice for each character and manages to capture something ineffable about their personalities and perspectives on the world. His performance turns what might read as a long, needlessly ornate slog into a charming world peopled with neighbors, Society ladies and gentlemen, servants, faeries, and magicians whose lives and dramas are a matter of deep interest and concern.

In other words, Prebble makes Clarke's fictional world seem entirely real. In listening to him weave the tale of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I forgot that the world he described was a concoction of its author. I forgot that the Raven King never existed in my medieval England and that Wellington couldn't have rivers moved in my Napoleonic Wars. I forgot everything to do with how Susanna Clarke pieced her alternate history together and simply enjoyed that it existed at all.

And because I could settle in for a long yarn, the story of Jonathan Strange, Mr Norrell, and their contemporaries fascinated me, made me laugh, and moved me. To anyone struggling with the book, itself, I highly recommend giving the audiobook a try...even if Prebble never does quite manage to pronounce "Daoine Sidhe" correctly. :) ( )
  slimikin | Apr 12, 2022 |
Reread after listening to the audiobook some time ago. Either I forgot a great deal about this or it took reading it in print to fully understand its intricate plot and fantastical world building. While the audiobook was amazing (how can anything read by Simon Prebble be anything but?) it didn’t have a search function that I could use to revisit key scenes and reacquaint myself with some of the minor characters. Also, I usually listen while walking or driving and this is a book that deserves its readers’ full attention. Even on a second time through it wasn’t easy to get into but at the end it was hard to let it go. I only wish the old rumor about a sequel had come true - Stephen Black’s story or one about Childermass and Vinculus would be wonderful to pick up right now. ( )
1 vote wandaly | Jan 11, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 709 (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 (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, SusannaAuthorprimary 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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