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

Returning magic to England

  • Feb 20, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+5
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 been forgotten. There are amusing side trips into Wellington's Peninsula campaign, and a new view of how the Allies won the battle of Waterloo. This is also a book that covers, in a light-hearted way, the social classes and the differences between them. It's somewhat of a comedy of manners in part, and also a mystery and a search for something elusive. Despite the length and the size of the book, reading it from cover to cover was not a chore, because the author keeps the reader continually interested in finding out what was going to happen next. This is a very good book, and I highly recommend it!

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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 …
review by . December 11, 2004
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 …
About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #93
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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Wiki

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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Details

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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