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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel » User review


  • Dec 11, 2004
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After shifting through many reviews I came to this conclusion, you either love or hate this book. I am definitely in the former group. In fact, personally I wonder how any could not love this wonderful piece of fiction?

My guess is that a large group of people misunderstand the intent of the author (and that don't find humor in the genre of satire). Ms.Clarke does not intend to deliver a fast-paced good vs. evil epic. Nothing could be further from the truth... instead she has given us a high comedy/satire on English life. Comedy with some magic is how the reader should approach the 1st page.

And make no mistake, I found this to be the funniest book I have read in years - I actually laughed out loud! It reminds me of Mark Twain's, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court" both are psuedo-serious on the subject of British life (Different periods of course) but both are full of satire. I find these two books have much more in common than "Strange & Norrell" would have with "Harry Potter".

Ultimately, I feel that this is the reason for the negative reviews. Satire is a close cousin to sarcasm and in both cases you either get it or you don't. Many people simply don't find this type of humor funny, therefore, they hate this book and find it unbearably boring.

Personally, I can't remember a book written in the last 10 years that I have enjoyed more. Like some of the other reviewers I am reading it much slower than my typical pace... not because I find it "Hard" to read, but simply, I really didn't want it to end!

My final opinion- If you liked Dickens, Austen, or even Mark Twain... you will LOVE, "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell". If you find reading these authors a form of personal torture...stay far, far away.

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This is a doorstopper of a book, coming in at over 780 pages and weighing several pounds! It takes quite an effort to hold it up or prop it up to read, but the effort is well worth it. The first time author has presented an early 19th century England that had once been divided north and south into two different kingdoms, the northern half ruled by the Raven King, a human/fairy magician. We are introduced to two magicians whose task it becomes to restore magic to England, since the magic has basically …
review by . February 20, 2005
The joy of this book is not in its length, for it is too long, but for the fully-formed world and the arch manner of the writing. Too many people have tried to compare this to Harry Potter for some very superficial similarities: it's set in an England where magic works, the author is female and the book is a brick. But this is not a children's book, albeit those weaned on Potter might find this interesting if quite slow in comparison, for Clarke's method is much more subtle. This is a comedy of …
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At one time, I may have been the world's biggest baseball fan. However, now that I have a family I amin danger of falling out of the top 100. In addition to my beautiful wife and lovely daughter (and … more
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It's 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke's ingenious first novel,Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of theHarry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke--and it's not all fairy dust.--Regina Marler
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ISBN-10: 1582344167
ISBN-13: 978-1582344164
Author: Susanna Clarke
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Date Published: September 2004
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