Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Boxed Three Volume Collector's Edition

Paperback, 1024 pages

English language

Published Oct. 20, 2005 by Bloomsbury USA.

ISBN:
978-1-59691-153-6
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
86128440

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4 stars (144 reviews)

Published in 2004, it is an alternative history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Its premise is that magic once existed in England and has returned with two men: Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange. Centred on the relationship between these two men, the novel investigates the nature of "Englishness" and the boundaries between reason and unreason, Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Dane, and Northern and Southern English cultural tropes/stereotypes. It has been described as a fantasy novel, an alternative history, and a historical novel. It inverts the Industrial Revolution conception of the North-South divide in England: in this book the North is romantic and magical, rather than rational and concrete.

43 editions

Magical History Tour

5 stars

I have literally had a copy of this book since it came out and was finally able to read it through the magic of audiobooks. The narrator is very good and does distinct character voices that made it much easier to follow and digest. The book itself was very enjoyable, as long novels often are, once you really get into them. There is A LOT of world building and detail, and the characters were mutlifaceted and interesting and the language surrouning faerie and magic was very evocative. Highly recommended.

My Favorite Novel

5 stars

I first read Susanna Clarke’s masterpiece when it first came out. I still have the lovingly worn hardcover US edition, with frayed edges and we’ll-thumbed pages. Considering how important ancient and lost texts are to the story, this somehow makes my copy even more authentic somehow. It is a remarkable piece of world-building as well as a literary analysis of early 19th century English Literature. Part Jane Austen, part Patrick O’Brien, and part Ann Radcliffe, this novel feels like the most thoroughly explored world that I’ve ever seen communicated in a single work.

Review of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Boxed Three Volume Collector's Edition" on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I really wanted to like this, given all of the good reviews. I tried the written book, I tried the audio book. There was a review that said it got better about 8 hours in. I just couldn't make it - there were interesting moments, but it felt like a chore to keep trying to come back to this book.

Review of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Boxed Three Volume Collector's Edition" on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book was fine! Not as good as I was expecting based on friends' hype + my love of Piranesi, but maybe I'm just not the target audience for it, since I couldn't care less about British historical fiction. I was hoping for more magic system development, I guess. All the characters were so tedious, which I realize was on purpose and we're supposed to be laughing at them, but the book gave them soooo many pages to go on at length that I found myself just rolling my eyes most of the time. The story did manage to pull me in by the last quarter or so, though.

Review of 'Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

My initial inclination is to give this book 4 stars because I really liked it!! But I almost want to give it 5 stars because of what it achieved, namely keeping my attention for a month. For a variety of reasons, I tend to shy away from books that serve as a nightstand all by themselves, but this one kept my attention, in spite of its wandering and meandering path.

At 900+ pages/26 disks, you don't really expect a tight fast paced story. What you get is an exploration of characters, all of them flawed. You get a look life in an alternate history version of England (and Spain and Italy). You get to see how magic and fairy changed things, and a hint of how they might further change things.

And in the end, it isn't tidy. Threads stick out in all sorts of directions, and life goes on. …

Review of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Boxed Three Volume Collector's Edition" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book is excellent! It may begin a little slow, but it picks up eventually. There are many chapters that may not make a lot of sense first, but it all gets clearer as the book progress. The footnotes are lovely, despite their quantity and size. One thing is certain - I'll be reading this book again. Jonathan Strange and Mr Nortel definitely deserves your time!

Review of 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This is a masterpiece.  Five stars is not enough.
 
(BTW, I HATE SPOILERS, so you will NOT find any here.)
 
Forget everything you think you know about how a novel should be written.  Ms. Clarke makes her own rules and the result is astounding.  I think it is best to approach Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell without any expectations, and to surrender and be led on its sublime odyssey.

In this brilliantly written epic literary historical fantasy (I suppose that is its sub- sub- sub-genre), we are transported to the early 19th century where we meet some very engaging magicians and follow them on their paths, and we explore English magic and its history.‎

I was swept away by the style in which this is written, which is very much like a British classic,‎ so it flawlessly captures the time in which it takes place.  The prose is magnificent …

Review of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Boxed Three Volume Collector's Edition" on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I fear I will never be satisfied by a book about magicians.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has some great ideas and pleasant prose, but the bones of the story don't hold together enough to make a satisfying book. Granted, it is Susanna's Clarke's first novel so some problems with the construction are to be expected, but what the book is sorely in need of is an aggressive editor. The book is simply too long: it's a rare thing that the book would be better if none of the main plot were changed but 200 pages of extraneous material were removed. It's inexcusable that the book does not begin to cohere until the third act after 600 odd pages of meandering. If the end came more quickly, then the unsatisfying mystique of it could be explained by a lack of development, but shoe horning in a half baked ending after …

Review of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Boxed Three Volume Collector's Edition" on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Je crois qu'il s'agit de la deuxième ou troisième fois où j'ai commencé à lire ce long roman. J'ai lu plusieurs critiques qui confirmaient l'impression que j'avais gardé de ce livre : c'est lent, il ne se passe grand chose, et les digressions sont nombreuses. Mais cette fois, je suis allé au bout, et je ne le regrette pas. Là où je diverge des critiques que j'ai lues, c'est que je n'ai pas pensé "tout ça pour ça !" à la fin de ma lecture, bien au contraire. Même si le début (et même le milieu !) du roman est lent et qu'on ne comprend pas forcément où cela va nous amener, j'ai adoré la fin et j'ai finalement apprécié que tout cela ait été amené avec subtilité et en décrivant au préalable un univers précis et passionnant. Je ne sais pas si j'aurai le courage de relire ce pavé …

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Subjects

  • Short Stories (single author)
  • Fiction
  • Fiction - Fantasy
  • Fantasy - Historical
  • Fiction / General
  • Fairies
  • Magicians
  • Teacher-student relationships

Lists