Jonathan Strange enters the picture. Strange stumbles into magic, but discovers that it is his true higher calling. Norrell reluctantly takes him under his wing to train and work side by side with him. As time passes, the two come to discover that their magical beliefs are just too different. Do they decide to go their separate ways? Or, do they set aside their differences to work together?
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is the impressive debut by author, Susanna Clark. When I say impressive, I actually mean impressive in a couple of ways:
(1) The detail and research that has gone into this book is intense. She wrote this chunkster as her debut, totaling more than 1000 pages!! Within these many pages, she includes historical context, overlapping the magical world with the real world of the 1800's. In addition, her world-building creates multiple mini stories within the larger one (and often found in the multitude of footnotes throughout!).
(2) Clarke's writing was also notable. At first, I found it took me a bit longer to get into the story. However, she would then throw out such beauty as this . . .
"She wore a gown the colour of storms, shadows and rain and a necklace of broken promises and regrets." (p. 191)And this . . .
"He looked up into the tree and addressed the gentleman in a language that sounded like a chatter of water over stones and the sighing of wind amongst bare branches and the crackle of fire consuming dead leaves." (p. 679)This made my bookish heart flutter in so many ways!!
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is an interesting story between two very different magicians. It is filled with lots of details, BUT has many hidden treasures that make the long journey completely worth it in the end. Just be prepared for a rocky ride!
I leave you with my favorite quote for you to ponder . . .
'"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."' (p.389)
For those who have read Strange & Norrell, what did you think about this tome? If you have not yet read it (or even if you have), who have been your favorite "gentleman" magicians?
Ah, I love this book so much. In spite of its hugeness I reread it regularly (I have an edition where it's three paperbacks in a box, instead of one enormous book). The writing is just relentlessly gorgeous and strange and specific, and I love all the plotlines. My favorite is when Jonathan Strange goes to work for Wellington and does all those cool military spells for him.ReplyDelete
Jenny @ Reading the End ... The creativity of this book is truly amazing, especially during those military spells! And, I wonder if the book would not be quite so daunting if I had read it as the three different books.Delete
I was recommended this book by Helene Wecker. The author of The Golem and the Jenni. She told me this book was one of the inspirations for her novel.ReplyDelete
If you want to read a wonderful read, I would check it out. I am bought the digital book and hope to get to it soon.
You can read my last entry on my book blog with a interview with the author and below that is my review of this wonderful novel.
Actually, I read Night Circus. This is a book about the competition of two apprentices. A young man, and a young lady. What makes the story unique, they fall in love.ReplyDelete
Susan Curtis ... I have been wanting to read The Golem and the Jenni! And, I really enjoyed The Night Circus!! Thanks for stopping by!Delete
UHG, well at first I really liked it. I liked the footnotes and how the magicians were like art historians (they write and theorize about magic but they don't actually DO it), and I liked the what-if aspect of the history. I also loved John Childermass and Strange's pupils (they were hilarious). But the other characters were either annoying or completely forgettable, and after about 150 pages the footnotes got to be really tiresome. It was just way too long for me.ReplyDelete
Tasha Brandstatter ... You just reminded me that I still need to read your review now that I'm finished with this one!! I have it saved in Twitter and will get to it now! And, I totally forgot about John Childermass. He was a REALLY good character!!Delete
I loved this book but I also read it before I had a home and a child to take care of. I'm a bit more daunted by the idea of a reread because I just don't have the leisure time I once did. I'm impressed that you stuck with it though! And you should find her collection of short stories now. They fit nicely with the book and are very well written but are luckily, well, short. :)ReplyDelete
Kristen M. ... I have the name of the short stories written down somewhere and hope to read them! In the end, I'm glad I stuck with it, but it was a LONG journey!!Delete