Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel:

I enjoyed Susanna Clarke’s exciting yet intentionally stodgy adventure set in an early 19th Century England in which there is magic. This is an adult book, not a Potter-type story. The author engulfed herself for years in the writing and history of the time. For me it has one of the best characteristics of a long book: you hate to leave its world when the story ends. (One reviewer comments: she almost had me believing that that there used to be magic in England.) My enjoyment was not surprising since I am much involved with whimsy. Susannah Clarke is a grandmaster of whimsy, capable of inserting seamlessly the gentlest touch or the broadest breath at any moment. I fear that people in general barely tolerate whimsy, so I shall be curious to see how the book fares over the years. (But there IS much more to it than whimsy.) You can find many reviews here.

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