Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

jonathan strange & mr norrell book coverJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell [2004] – ★★★★★

Neil Gaiman called Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrellthe finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years”, and I will agree with him. It is a very long book, but it is totally absorbing from the very first page. The novel begins in autumn 1806 with Mr Segundus, a theoretical magician, wanting to know why there was no more magic done in England. He is a new addition to the society of magicians in York, England. Practical magic has declined in England and there are apparently no practising magicians left in the country. The profession of a practising magician has fallen in reputation, and Mr Segundus comes to inquire of another magician who lives in Yorkshire why this is the case. He finds, however, that not only the reclusive Mr Norrell has an established library filled with rare books on the practice of magic, he also claims to be a practising magician himself! Mr Norrell soon desires to establish himself as the only practising magician in the country. The episodic-in-nature plot is delightful to read, and, in style, it reminds of Dickens’s Bleak House [1853]. Delving into the British folklore, Clarke opens up a fascinating magical world, which you will not want to leave, and takes her task quite seriously. Inside the book, one will find a gripping adventure-mystery, great characterisation, unforgettable atmosphere, humorous sequences, and the masterful use of the language. The book’s story, format, style and language all give the impression as though the book was written back when it was set – in the 19th century. In sum, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is quite brilliant in every respect, and I cannot recommend the novel highly enough. As I would like to discuss the book here in some depth, the following review will contain spoilers. Continue reading “Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke”

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Harry Potter Tag

I noticed this tag on the Ever-the-Crafter blog, and I have decided to give it a go.

  • What house are you in?

It is predictable, but I am in Gryffindor, the house that values bravery and loyalty. I guess my natural instinct is to go for Slytherin, since I am attracted to everything unknown, and do not mind dark cold basement corridors, but, like Harry Potter himself, I guess I would have chosen Gryffindor, even if Slytherin also feels natural to me. When I went through a selection procedure for the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in North American, I was placed in the Wampus house. 

  • What is your patronus?

It will be some celestial she-wolf; she is a bit of a loner, but very protective of the ones she loves.  Continue reading “Harry Potter Tag”