Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (January 2, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0747590052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747590057
  • List Price: $17.99
  • I finished this book on Oct. 3
Okay, my lovelies. First off: this book took me forever to read. For-ev-er! (name that movie). That is no indicator of quality, mind you, it's more due to it being very long, very British and me trying to adjust to my new work schedule. I promise I will be reading much more frequently, p.s. this is the first book I've read for the R.I.P. Challenge.
Anywho: the story. Imagine an alternate version of 19th century Britain in which there is a long history of magic lost, a shady King and two emerging practitioners of magic. Mr. Norrell is set about reviving English Magic, which he does by stamping out any other magicians in the area and buying all the books of magic so that no one else may read them. He's cranky Wilfred Brimley, he's that guy at the restaurant that eats alone and complains that his soup is too cold, he's that creepy uncle that you don't want to get stuck in conversation with. Then there's Jonathan Strange, who becomes Norrell's pupil. Strange is arrogant, young and a quick study of magic. They have an increasingly strained relationship as Strange becomes more independent and skilled. Norrell asks a fairy for help who then causes a wicked ruckus amongst pretty much all involved. Will Scooby and the Gang figure out how to break the enchantment in time?
Ms. Clarke loves footnotes. She is dating them and I have heard that the relationship is growing quite serious. These footnotes are nothing like the brief snippets in Anansi Boys. These are serious, not to be effed with footnotes. They will school you in a fight. I quite enjoyed said footnotes, except more than once I would get all sidetracked thinking about what I just read in it and forget about the actual story. Either way, it was neat. And weird.
Also, for fun, Lord Byron is a character. And briefly Mary Shelley. And, they talk about how the weather in the year 1816 was very strange and the summer was very cold. Also, Frankenstein is one of the books I will be reading for the challenge. For that reason (and that it is pure awesomeness) I am giving you a booknerd exclusive: a video. I swear it's pertinent. Or not. Enjoy!


Elizabeth said...

Fun video. Was that Regina Spektor?

bee said...

nope, it's Rasputina (sort of like R Spektor with electric cellos and a pinch more weirdness) I highly recommend them. Check them out here

chimpdaemon said...

your a much better person then i-im only half way and doing my best to finish(its a matter of pride now)

Elizabeth said...


Thus the intro that says Rasputina's 1816...

Carl V. said...

I will have to check out the video...and one day will have to finish Jonathan Strange. I loved what I read then got distracted by much smaller books and still haven't gotten back to it.