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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

by Susanna Clarke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9181162,545 (3.88)219
Presents an anthology of stories set in a mysterious, fantastical version of England populated by petulant princesses, vengeful owls, and endless paths in the dark woods, and features the Duke of Wellington and other colorful characters.
  1. 163
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (billiecat, celtic)
  2. 100
    Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders 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. 90
    The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (billiecat)
  4. 40
    Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland 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. 20
    Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner (Michael.Rimmer)
  8. 00
    An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures by Katharine Briggs (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Contains the original fairy tale, "Tom Tit Tot", the basis for Clarke's "Lickerish Hill".
  9. 11
    Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link (jujuvail)
  10. 15
    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J. K. Rowling (norabelle414)
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» See also 219 mentions

English (111)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
The title story is by far the best and most satisfying. The others are enjoyable, too. ( )
  IVLeafClover | Jun 21, 2022 |
I loved the dry humour of Clarke's tales, as sharp on one side as her dark, grotesque menace is on the other. It was pleasing to see her reference to Sylvia Townsend Warner's Kingdoms of Elfin, as that book is a definite predecessor of Clarke's conception of fairy.

One story which seemed very familiar as I was reading it was revealed as a retelling of the folktale "Tom Tit Tot", which sent me to Katherine Briggs's wonderful A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies and Other Supernatural Creatures to re-read the original.

The final story had hints of The Mabinogion tales crossed with J.R.R. Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham, and was a nicely humorous sign-off.

While the Austenesque flavour of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is much in evidence, especially in the title story in which Strange appears (and I'd happily read a novel about the Three Ladies), there is a well-judged diversity in tone and style between the stories.

If I've emphasised the similarities with other authors' works, that's not to suggest Clarke is derivative, rather that, as in Piranesi, she is skilful at unpicking the threads those others have woven and of reworking them into her own tapestry.
  Michael.Rimmer | Apr 24, 2022 |
This is a tough one for me. My rating through this collection of stories pinged from exuberant fives to dismal ones.

Make no mistake, Susanna Clarke can write, and her first novel, [book:Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell|14201] was a damn tour de force.

Which is why this one's tough. Each story is very much a massively condensed version of that novel, many of them taking place in the same world. And while each is meticulously written, often laugh out loud funny, and occasionally poignant, still there were sections that were dreadfully dull that were a slog to get through.

Overall, I'd say the effort's worth it, as I believe each story, while never delivering a big ending, did offer closure.

Susanna Clarke writes like the great great great grandmother of the lovechild of [author:Neil Gaiman|1221698] and [author:J.K. Rowling|1077326], and that's not a bad thing, because she does a great job of capturing the wonder the both those authors deliver on. I guess what I'm saying is, there are times I wish she'd move the time and place of her stories forward a couple hundred years. I'd love to see what she could do with the 21st century, instead of sticking firmly in the 19th. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
(Note: This review originally appeared as part of a series of capsule reviews of illustrated novels, hence the focus on the art)

Clarke’s second book was better served in the illustration and design departments
than Jonathan Strange. The Ladies of Grace Adieu is bound with embossed,
printed cloth boards, and is delicately illustrated by Charles Vess, a veteran artist
who specializes in a sort of wistful, arcane drawing in the vein of Arthur
Rackham and others from the “Golden Age of Illustration” at the turn of the last
century. His dark, fantastical images are an excellent complement to Clarke’s
prose. While I do like to see more tension between the style of the prose and the
illustrations, sometimes it is the right choice to create a seamless collaboration
such as this one. ( )
  francoisvigneault | May 17, 2021 |
I had a really challenging time reading Clarke's first novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, but once I had acclimatized to her writing style and got into the story (after three tries) I quite enjoyed it. I knew what I was in for this time around, so it was practically effortless getting caught up in this collection of stories. Each explores a case a magical happenings during Clarke's alternate Victorian era, so we get a range of characters and adventures that is more varied than in the lengthy narrative of Strange and Norrel. Many of the stories also feature female characters and magicians prominently, so we get away from the political and military aspects that seem to dominate the male magicians of the day. Poor men, it seems, as the sorceresses surely have more fun with their conjuring, shapeshifting, and general trickery. The men may try to keep them in bounds (in typical Victorian fashion), but as the ladies of Grace Adieu state when faced with the (all be it soft) wrath of Jonathan Strange: "you cannot even reconcile what you believe in your heart to be true and what we are obliged to write in the quarterly reviews" and to not return to challenge them until he has figured himself out. He may be the second greatest magicianof the age, but he is no match for women who know themselves and who know their power! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 111 (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)
 
the stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu are consistently subtle and enchanting, and as charismatic as any reader could wish, but, while the collection has the panache of [Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell], it lacks its glorious self-possession. The stories feel a little adrift, a little raw, occasionally too neat; they're not the natural heirs to the magnum opus. But then, how could they be, and why should they be? A short fiction collection is a different beast to a novel, and is bound to work on its readers in entirely different ways.

 
They are uniformly clever and meticulously composed, knowledgeable of folk traditions while giving them a modern spin.
 
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.
 
"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.
 

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clarke, Susannaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borner, PetraCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vess, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
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.
Quotations
Magic, madam, is like wine and, if you are not used to it, it will make you drunk.
The governess was not much liked in the village. She was too tall, too fond of books, too grave, and, a curious thing, never smiled unless there was something to smile at.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Presents an anthology of stories set in a mysterious, fantastical version of England populated by petulant princesses, vengeful owls, and endless paths in the dark woods, and features the Duke of Wellington and other colorful characters.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
An anthology
of faery-themed short stories –
Charles Vess illustrates.
(passion4reading)

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