Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

A Novel

Paperback, 856 pages

English language

Published Oct. 29, 2005 by Bloomsbury.

ISBN:
9781582346038
OCLC Number:
61660468

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (30 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.

18 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 and Mr Norrell' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book is amazing. I listened to it after listening to Dickens's Christmas Carol (which was excellent) and the first two books in the Bartimaeus Trilogy (which are enjoyable). This was like the perfect mix. The imagination of Stroud with the writing skill of Dickens. It also reminds one of Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Brilliant. I will certainly pick up an illustrated copy and read it in the years to come.

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

5 stars

This was enchanting. I have heard very good things about this book (as well as some not so good things). After reading it, I think I will have to agree with those who loved JS & MN. It was long (782 pages), though it didn't feel that way, despite the relatively slow pace of the narrative. The writing is much slower than most books nowadays and the plot points were revealed one by one throughout the book; it wasn't until the last 100 pages or so that I finally had an inclination about how everything would resolve itself, and even then, Clarke still provided a number of interesting twists. Clarke's written a world in which magic is a divisive political issue, a passion, and in vogue. Her characters are flawed and there were times I found myself intensely disliking the main characters, only to have them redeem themselves by the …

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Subjects

  • Teacher-student relationships -- Fiction
  • Magicians -- Fiction
  • Fairies -- Fiction
  • London (England) -- Fiction
  • York (England) -- Fiction

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