Theresa O’Connor

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

I’ve just finished reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. It is the most engrossingly wonderful novel I’ve read in quite some time. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s Neil Gaiman’s review from the back cover:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years.1 It’s funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow — a delight to read, both for the elegant and precise use of words, which Ms Clarke deploys as wisely and dangerously as Wellington once deployed his troops, and for the vast sweep of the story, as tangled and twisting as old London streets or dark English woods. It is a huge filled with people it is a delight to meet, and incidents and places one wishes to revisit, which is, from beginning to end, perfect pleasure. Closing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell after 800 pages my only regret was that it wasn’t twice the length.

Anyway, you should devour it as soon as possible.


Notes

  1. Gaiman carefully words this so as to avoid claiming it to be superior to Hope Mirrlees’ Lud-in-the-Mist, one of his favorite novels, from which Clarke clearly drew quite a bit of inspiration.