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?