Thursday, 14 May 2015

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke

You know that you enjoyed a book when you are sad that it has finished!

I am a little late in posting about my Year in books post this month but rather late to the party than not at all right?

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

This book is a BIG book coming in at 1024 pages, probably one of the biggest books I have ever read (if you exclude text books). I felt quite daunted by this book, even more so reading the actual book to start with. I switched to the kindle version when I went to Edinburgh to save space (= increased space for yarn storage on the return trip) and in the last month I alternated listening to the book in the car and reading it at home, best of both worlds.

I found it such a slow book to begin with but assured by fellow book lovers that it would improve, I stuck with it & I am so glad I did.

Beyond the main subject of magic set  in the early 19th century it tells the tale of two magicians that return magic to Britain. There are many sub plots which although I feel are not entirely necessary they do add a certain quaintness to the story and re-enforce the British humour throughout the book, which had me smiling throughout.

Mr Norrell comes across as a single minded, determined, selfish person who wants to be the only magician in Britain, Mr strange on the other hand, who becomes Mr. Norrells apprentice pushes the boundaries of magic and explores the magic of the Raven king. Their two differing perspectives make for an interesting read. Beyond these characters, Clarke has developed and amazing breadth of characters and back story that make for a compelling read. I love the attention to detail in this book with an immense amount of footnote to help develop the magical theories and historical events further.

I think it is safe to say that I loved this book and I was especially pleased to finish just days before the TV adaptation of the book is aired on the BBC. This means I don't have to be to sad that I have finished the book as the adventure continues!

Will you be watching it? have you read this book, what did you think?

Megan's Reading Corner is to follow, as you can imagine from previous posts she has read rather a lot of books over the last two months.


  1. I have had the book on my book shelf for a number of years. I have picked it and put it back down again. Sometimes that happens doesn't it? A book just looks and feels overwhelming. I am looking forward to the adaptation on tv. Maybe I shall give it a go again in the summer holidays.
    Leanne xx

  2. I have had this book in my hand several times in the book shop,mans always put it back, I think the sheer size has out me off a bit, so it's good to hear it is such an enthralling read. Great review, thanks! X


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