Book Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr NorrellJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't say enough - I saw the mini-series, was delighted, and then read the book. Now I am enchanted. If you've read any of the reviews, you know the basic story - magic is almost gone from England, until the reclusive and odd Mr. Norrell decides to bring it back in spectacular fashion, publicly. He does, then comes forth the reluctant magician, Jonathan Strange, a fop, a dilettante, who just happens to be so much more naturally talented than Mr. Norrell. Add the incredible cast of magical and not characters, and you've got an immense allegory of the Prodigal Son that is very hard to put down. I found myself sitting at work, wishing I was reading my book.

Who hasn't watched bitterly from the sides as a newcomer seems to charm everyone and not miss a pitch? The introverted Mr. Norrell really just wants to be with his books, at his house -
“I have a scholar's love of silence and solitude. To sit and pass hour after hour in idle chatter with a roomful of strangers is to me the worst sort of torment.”, 
while Jonathan Strange is out and about, going to war for England, becoming famous, and also, very arrogant about his talents. This of course, causes Mr. Norrell to become jealous, and he begins to hate Strange. Add in the man with the thistle-down hair, the noble Stephen, the lovely Arabella, the mysterious and intriguing Childermass, the despicable Lascelles and Drawlight, VINCULUS, the tragic Emma Wintertowne and the resolute John Segundus - you've got a story for the ages. Sprinkled in and about are real historical Regency figures like Wellington and King George. It's a masterwork. It's a tome. Don't let the size put you off - read it, and become enchanted, too.

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