Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bought this one a couple of years ago having seen it everywhere and heard the hype. Sounded my kind of book. Started it at the time and read the first section, totally taken by the feel of the language and world it described. Quite different from other fantasy books I’d read. The only catch was that it was such a large book that taking it out with me anywhere or away was not so easy and I ended up reading other books promising to come back to it. Sadly I didn’t for sometime and so recently when I spotted it on offer for the Kindle I grabbed it straight away. Much more convenient! This time I finished it.

So what did I make of it? Wow, what a fantastic book, a début novel at that! As before, the language and world created grabbed me completely. If you were to ask me what it was about, my description would be vague and not so compelling, but like The Night Circus, it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Britain devoid of practising magicians, suddenly discovers that it has two Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange, master joined by pupil. The tension between then and different attitudes to making magic available and promoting it spill over into a series events that changes the face of the country, sometimes quite literally!

Perfect? Maybe not. Could it have been shorter? I think so. But I’m glad it is as it is. Now I really wish I’d finished it the other year when I got it in paperback.

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