Sunday, May 18, 2008
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
"Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians."
"Susanna Clarke's brilliant first novel is an utterly compelling epic tale of nineteenth century England and the two very different magicians who, as teacher and pupil and then as rival, emerge to change its history. In the year 1806, in the throes of the Napoleonic Wars, most people believe magic to be dead in England--until the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician emerges: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and the two join forces in the war against France. But as Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, he risks sacrificing not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything else that he holds dear." -- from the back cover
I admit when I first saw this book I was reluctant to read it - not because of the subject. I like books about magic and history, but because of the size. From the beginning, however, Clarke's writing pulled me into this world in which magic is studied and practiced, used and misunderstood. I especially liked the interactions between Norrell and Strange and the ones between the servant Stephen Black and the faery gentleman with the thistle-down hair.
Date read: 4/25/2008
Book #: 25
Challenges: Book Awards Challenge; Chunkster Challenge; Spring Reading Thing Challenge 2008; What's in a Name Challenge?; Man Booker Challenge
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
# of Pages: 846
Binding: Trade Paperback