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From Publishers Weekly

The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it. Though irritated by the reticent Norrell, Strange becomes the magician's first pupil, and the British government is soon using their skills. Mr. Strange serves under Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars (in a series of wonderful historical scenes), but afterward the younger magician finds himself unable to accept Norrell's restrictive views of magic's proper place and sets out to create a new age of magic by himself. Clarke manages to portray magic as both a believably complex and tedious labor, and an eerie world of signs and wonders where every object may have secret meaning. London politics and talking stones are portrayed with equal realism and seem indisputably part of the same England, as signs indicate that the Raven King may return. The chock-full, old-fashioned narrative (supplemented with deft footnotes to fill in the ignorant reader on incidents in magical history) may seem a bit stiff and mannered at first, but immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike.

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Books, Cafe Libri, Hugo Award Winner, Susanna Clarke

Details

ISBN-10:  0747570558
ISBN-13:  978-0747570554
Author:  Susanna Clarke
Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy
Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA
Date Published:  August 26, 2004
Format:  Hardback, Paperback
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review by . June 16, 2010
   In Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke takes us to an England where magic is real and magicians exist in abundance. The only catch is that these magicians are scholars, not practitioners of the magic arts and none of them could cast a spell if they tried. Enter Jonathon Strange, a naive young man with the idea that he wants to become a great magician who actually practices magic. The following story is amazing in the level of detail and imagination Clarke uses to tell us …
review by . June 22, 2010
Anyone who loves Harry Potter and Jane Austen alike will not only enjoy this novel, they will LOVE it. Susannah Clarke has created a magical world firmly rooted in actual history.      The novel takes place in England, 1806. The magic that was once prevalent throughout the country has dwindled to nothing, and it is generally accepted that whatever had existed of magic is now lost. The only magicians left are "theoretical magicians" - those who study magic, but do not …
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Never finished this - just seemed to drag on and on without much to keep my interest.
Quick Tip by . June 25, 2010
Hated it. The plot gets lost so easily and the author, while clearly a very good storyteller, has some issues with the dragging pace of the action. I tried Susanna Clarke, I really did.
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
So unexpected and so incredible! I was barely five pages in before I knew this would be one of my favorites.
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
Something between J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. I liked it.
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Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
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