Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna ClarkeJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel

bySusanna Clarke

Mass Market Paperback | August 1, 2006

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At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England-until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

Time Magazine #1 Book of the Year « Book Sense Book of the Year « People Top Ten Books of the Year « Winner of the Hugo Award « A New York Times Notable Book of the Year « Salon.com Top Ten of 2004 «Winner of the World Fantasy Award « Nancy Pearl's Top 12 Books of 2004 « Washington Post Book World's Best of 2004 « Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction 2004 « San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2004 « Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel « Chicago Tribune Best of 2004 « Seattle Times 25 Best Books of 2004 « Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top 12 Books of 2004 « Village Voice "Top Shelf" « Raleigh News & Observer Best of 2004 « Rocky Mountain News critics' favorites of 2004 « Kansas City Star 100 Newsworthy Books of 2004 « Fort Worth Star-Telegram 10 Best Books of 2004 « Hartford Courant Best Books of 2004

Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham, England, in 1959, the eldest daughter of a Methodist minister. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of nonfiction publishing. She has published a number of short stories and novellas in American anthologies, as well as her collection of short stories enti...
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Title:Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A NovelFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:1024 pages, 6.84 × 4.24 × 1.63 inPublished:August 1, 2006Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765356155

ISBN - 13:9780765356154

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long, but excellent This book really captures the narrative style of the time period - which does mean that it's a bit of a slog. But I really enjoyed the deadpan humour and I loved meeting all the historical figures.
Date published: 2018-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very entertaining and highly original This is pretty different from your usual fantasy novel. I notice that people who didn't like it either 1. found it too long or 2. expected something more Tolkien-y. That's fair. On the other hand, people who loved it, like me, enjoyed the novelty that Susanna Clarke brings to the fantasy genre. Clarke seamlessly blends historical fiction with fantasy - imagine Jane Austen + wizards. Clarke is especially good at capturing that Austen-style sense of humour. Furthermore, the characters are well-fleshed out and compelling. Ms. Clarke effectively builds her own universe, which is a damn hard thing to do. Fantastic read! I was sad when it was over...
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantasy beyond the medieval and urban What Tolkien did for medieval fantasy, Clarke does for Romantic/Napoleonic-era fantasy. Just before the dawn of the Victorian-era, two English magicians desire to resurrect the lost art of magic. This is not bodice-ripping romance, but the Romance of Byron, Coleridge, and Woodsworth. There is light and dark, the country and the city, England and the Continent, the world of men and the world of fairies.
Date published: 2018-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely story I bought this because of the T.V show which I loved. Its different but fun.
Date published: 2018-03-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Her magic didn't conveniently solve all of the characters' problems, instead, they wasted time thinking through conflicts and then had to solve them by taking action; how dull is that? The magic was weird, anyways. It didn't have a simplistic, internal system to allow it to act as a one-for-one substitute with technology, it was just all unpredictable and otherworldly and unknowable
Date published: 2017-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely fantastic. Don't be intimidated by the size of the book -- be grateful for it! I couldn't put this down for days and days, and spent all of my time away from it wishing I was reading it. It's brilliantly engrossing.
Date published: 2017-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant This story is long and epic, and is so beautifully told. Following two English magicians over the course of a decade, this story is full of wonder and captured my attention from the first page. It's definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy subtle humour and well-rounded characters, you will love this book.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh -- too much for me. I really wanted to like this... and I do understand why so many people love it. But it was just too much darned work for me. I did finish it, and it took me 4 full weeks to do so... and while there are things about it I did like, I just can't recommend it. It was good, sure, but not 1000 pages worth of good.
Date published: 2011-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Greatest Magician Story of the Age. Many stories and films in the past have scripted a plot where two magicians enter an epic battle for supremacy. Some have done a great job, others have focused on more flashy aspects of magic and neglected a complete story. But I can assure you, none of them come close to Susanna Clarke's masterpiece: "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell". The book centres around two magicians, in fact, the only two magicians present in England during the Napoleonic Wars. Both Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell have very distinct opinions on how magic should be used and who should practice it. This premise alone is one that no work of magical fiction has yet to tackle as successfully as Clarke has. Magic is thrust into the political, military, economical, and personal spheres of this world, and the audience is entrenched in how society and the key characters deal with the resurfacing of a practice long abandoned. Clarke handles the voices of these persona so well, that the reader, like the characters in the book, will end up siding with one view or the other. That type of literary strength is quite a feat, and is perhaps the most impressive testament of this work. Beyond that, the book is incredibly crafted. The descriptive third person narration is perhaps the best I have ever read. Clarke as the narrator BECOMES a character, placing footnotes in areas that gives you a complete historical background on everything that has transpired in the fictional world. You become entirely educated in it. You are never for a second lost or overwhelmed, because Clarke acts as a guide in the most impressive of manners. When magic is actually being performed, Clarke does not just describe the act, she describes the entire sensation of being in the environment. She depicts how the air tastes, how the smells change, how the shadows react. It is truly an incredible experience of the imaginative senses. This book is an investment. It is 1000 pages long, but the journey gets better and better as you go along. The ending is incredible, and you feel tremendously rewarded as an audience member upon completion. What an awesome piece of fiction. I hope we see more of it from Clarke in the near future.
Date published: 2010-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My Favourite Book, But Not For Everyone I loved this book. The characters were awesome (I can remember each character's name, and every single one is interesting in their own ways), and the prose was beautiful. Oh, the prose. This is perhaps the most well written novel I've ever read, because of Clarke's prose. It's so beautiful, and gets such a clear picture in your head, yet never veers into purple territory. And it's very detailed too: To get the reader more engrossed in the novel, Clarke spells words the way they were spelt back in the 1800s (Jane Austen sort of spelling), and it's very witty. And now, onto why it's not for everyone: This is a very slow, meandering book. By way of suspense: (except for a few sections involving a certain gentleman) there is none. This is a very long book (1000-ish pages in mass market paperback, even more considering there are VERY VERY long footnotes in here, more on that later), and I can see lots of readers giving up in the middle. But this isn't a book that you flip through in a week. This the sort of book you take your time with, so that you can appreciate all the little details (like I said earlier, the spelling, and the footnotes which really engross you into the book), and get really.... Well, I know I've used this word a few times already in this review, but I'll use it again: engrossed in the book. I love this book, and it's my favourite book. However, it's a love it or hate sort of book, and isn't for everyone. ALSO: THIS BOOK HAS BRILLIANT ILLUSTRATIONS BY PORTIA ROSENBERG. OH MY GOD. I LOVE THOSE ILLUSTRATIONS.
Date published: 2007-12-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This was one fantastic read! I'm a huge Harry Potter fan... and I've always wanted JK Rowling to write us a book describing the history of English magic etc etc. And all of a sudden, we sort of got it. Yes, it's an entirely different world than Rowling's but it's fascinating. I agree 100% w the Austen and Dickens comparisons. It reads like a Dickens w the subtle social charm of an Austen. Absolutely magnificent read...
Date published: 2006-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Goodbye J.K Rowling, Hello Susanna Clarke! For those of you who were captivated by the magisterial essence of Harry Potter, prepare to be additionally intrigued because 'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell', Susanna Clarke's first novel is every bit as enchanting as the coveted children’s book but has been lovingly composed at a higher level of literacy. Do not be daunted by the size of the book but be excited because it means the English fable can last longer for you. This novel creates a world unto its own; Clarke smartly becomes so specific that she uses copious footnotes throughout the novel to relay fairytales that the characters in the books believe and to also display books that they are known to have written (all fiction of course). This novel smartly disguises itself as a memoir disguised as a research paper, however her language magically leaves you yearning for more of Clarke's literary brilliance.
Date published: 2006-08-20

Editorial Reviews

"What kind of magic can make an 800-page novel seem too short? Whatever it is, debut author Susanna Clarke is possessed by it." -USA Today on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Ravishing...A chimera of a novel that combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien...What really sets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell apart is its treatment of magic. Clarke's magic is a melancholy, macabre thing, confabulated out of snow and rain and mirrors and described with absolute realism ... Clarke has another rare faculty: she can depict evil ... [she] reaches down into fantasy's deep, dark, twisted roots, down into medieval history and the scary, Freudian fairy-tale stuff. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell reminds us that there's a reason fantasy endures: it's the language of our dreams. And our nightmares." -Time"Clarke's imagination is prodigious, her pacing is masterly and she knows how to employ dry humor in the service of majesty." -The New York Times on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. 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. Closing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel after 800 pages, my only regret was that it wasn't twice the length.... From beginning to end, a perfect pleasure." -Neil Gaiman, author of Anansi Boys, American Gods, and the Sandman series"Immense, intelligent, inventive...Clarke is a restrained and witty writer with an arch and eminently readable style." -Entertainment Weekly on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Over the course of nearly 800 pages Clarke channels the world of Jane Austen, the Gothic tale, the Silver-Fork Society novel, military adventure à la Bernard Sharpe or Patrick O'Brian, romantic Byronism and Walter Scott's passion for the heroic Northern past. She orchestrates all these fictive elements consummately well...Many books are to be read, some are to be studied, and a few are meant to be lived in for weeks. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is of this last kind." -The Washington Post on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Combining folklore and fantasy with horror-story imagination, [Clarke] creates a Napoleonic-era England alive with the promise--and danger--of uncontrollable forces...Clarke's sober style keeps the fantasy grounded, and meticulous historical research brings the magical episodes to terrifying life." -People (Critic's choice, four stars) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"The most sparkling literary debut of the year." -Salon on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Mesmerizing." -Harper's Bazaar on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"This 800-page work of fantasy--think Harry Potter sprinkled with the dust of Tolkien and Alasdair Gray--posits an extraordinary alternative history of England where magic, fairies, spirits and enchantments were once part of everyday life...This incredible work of the imagination, which took Clarke more than 10 years to write, ends all too soon." -New York Post (four stars) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Here is a writer who remembers that true fairy tales carry a sting and the creatures themselves were never properly domesticated to the nursery. Her uncanny book is an object lesson in the pleasures--and risks--of enchantment." -Village Voice on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Gorgeous...A terrific, phenomenally ambitious book." -The Onion on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"An instant classic, one of the finest fantasies ever written." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Extraordinary...Will enchant readers of fantasy and of literary fiction alike." -Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"A smashing success...History and fantasy form a beautiful partnership in this detailed, authentic, and heartfelt novel." -Booklist (starred review) on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Wonderful. At almost 800 pages, it is an immense, densely plotted story, peopled with a a vast cast of extremely well-drawn characters, filled with unexpected events, ancient prophesies,varied and exotic settings, and all manner of human and inhuman conflict, and it is built one splendid scene upon the next." -Toronto Globe and Mail on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell comes across as equal parts Jane Austen and Charles Dickens flavored with Rowling and Tolkien. It's inarguably one of the year's best and most original works." -National Post (Canada)"Combines the wit of Jane Austen with the subterranean spookiness of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle." -Seattle Times on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"An enthralling, unique read." -Baltimore Sun"Witty dialogue, cunning observations, and intriguing footnotes...[A] sweeping adventure full of telling details, mixing history and fantasy to create worlds of deep imagination that seem as real as our own." -San Francisco Chronicle on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"While Jonathan Strange is every bit as whimsical and playful as the Harry Potter books, it is also grave and upsetting, the very opposite of comforting children's entertainment...Clarke has delivered a book of universal truths and unexpectedly heartbreaking acuity." -Fort Worth Star-Telegram"Utterly enchanting. [Clarke's] union of historical fiction and fantasy is fresh, it is surprising, and it will appeal to those who want nothing more than to be carried away to a world crafted by a superb storyteller." -Denver Post on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"Extraordinary...If Harry Potter is the kind of book that makes you want to be a kid again, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is the kind of novel that will remind you that being an adult should be a whole lot more fun." -Atlanta Journal-Constitution"I found it absolutely compelling. The narrative drive is irresistible and I could not stop reading until I had finished it. The narrator's tone is beautifully judged. It's full of wonderfully deadpan humour and its reticence leaves the reader to make up his or her mind about the characters. I loved all the invented scholarship and was fascinated by the mixture of historical realism and utterly fantastic events. I almost began to believe that there really was a tradition of 'English magic' that I had not heard about. The author captures the period and its literary conventions with complete conviction. And a large part of the fun is seeing how an early nineteenth century novel copes with the impact of magic. It's an astonishing achievement. I can't think of anything that is remotely like it." -Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx, on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell