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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (2004)

by Susanna Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
27,195779111 (3.94)2 / 1190
Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:In the Hugo-award winning, epic New York Times Bestseller and basis for the BBC miniseries, two men change England's history when they bring magic back into the world.

In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars in 1806, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England - until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an overnight celebrity.
Another practicing magician then emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's pupil, and the two join forces in the war against France.
But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wild, most perilous forms of magic, and he soon risks sacrificing his partnership with Norrell and everything else he holds dear.
Susanna Clarke's brilliant first novel is an utterly compelling epic tale of nineteenth-century England and the two magicians who, first as teacher and pupil and then as rivals, emerge to change its history.
… (more)
  1. 411
    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. 251
    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. 192
    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. 236
    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. 195
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (clif_hiker)
  11. 185
    His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Rodo)
  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. 133
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (hiredman)
  15. 100
    Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (jen.e.moore)
  16. 134
    The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (flissp)
  17. 60
    The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (Anonymous user)
  18. 82
    Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (spiphany)
  19. 60
    Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: Books which focus on a fascinating historical Britain, but with added fun like magicians and more.
  20. 126
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (Patangel)

(see all 65 recommendations)

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» See also 1190 mentions

English (758)  French (6)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Japanese (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (778)
Showing 1-5 of 758 (next | show all)
this has been one of the most intimidating books on my shelf. 1000+ onion skin pages, 32+ hours of audio, dense language in old english, and footnotes that goes on for pages and are themselves stories...i've tried and failed to finish this book a couple of times before, but never got past chapter three...but now, after 6 months (!!), i finally did it. such a satisfying feeling ^_^

this looong story about two magicians (strange and norelle) trying to bring back magic in England during the time of the Napoleonic wars reads like a grim fairy tale. its enchanting, creepy in parts, meandering without being dull, gripping (once i finally committed myself), delightfully unpredictable, has layers on layers, and is surprisingly hilarious!

i am astounded at how beautiful this book is. ms. clarke is a genius! ( )
  riida | Jul 2, 2024 |
A tratti molto noioso, con spunti geniali… L'ho finito perché tant'è ti cattura. È interessante, un po' folle e un po' noir... però a volte mi ha distrutto per la puntigliosità, le note, la prolissità... sarebbe stato perfetto con un altro tipo di editing, tipo tagliare tagliare tagliare, a mio parere! ( )
  Valek626 | Jun 17, 2024 |
Goes on and on and builds up some high expectations and then does that thing that balloons do when you let go of the open end.

I finished the book feeling cheated and frustrated. ( )
  fotmasta | May 23, 2024 |
scritto benissimo! ( )
  LLonaVahine | May 22, 2024 |
Probably should've DNF'd. Just never really got into it until page 750+. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ( )
  ben.wildeboer | May 22, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 758 (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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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."
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:In the Hugo-award winning, epic New York Times Bestseller and basis for the BBC miniseries, two men change England's history when they bring magic back into the world.

In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars in 1806, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England - until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an overnight celebrity.
Another practicing magician then emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's pupil, and the two join forces in the war against France.
But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wild, most perilous forms of magic, and he soon risks sacrificing his partnership with Norrell and everything else he holds dear.
Susanna Clarke's brilliant first novel is an utterly compelling epic tale of nineteenth-century England and the two magicians who, first as teacher and pupil and then as rivals, emerge to change its history.

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Book description
Haiku summary
Two odd magicians
restore magic to England
and go kind of nuts.
(marcusbrutus)
Don't ever make a
deal with a faerie – it will
not end well for you.
(passion4reading)

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