Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - 2004- 752 Pages
Winner 2005 Hugo Award for Best Novel
Best Novel Award World Fantasy Award 2005
Last Month I read Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I loved this story and knew I wanted to read her first novel, written 12 years earlier, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It is hundreds of Pages longer than Piranesi, taking a larger commitment. My very high expectations were more than exceeded.
Set in England starting in August of 1806, continuing through England’s conflict with Bonaparte and ending in February 1817 this is an epic imaging
Alternative history in which two powerful magicians bring magic, lost for centuries, back to being a powerful force. It is presented as if it were a work of actual 19th century English history, complete with footnotes. Faries,often sinister force, Play a big part in plot.
Mr. Norrell is a Magician who has a vast library of books of all sorts on the theory, practice, and history of English magic. He has a vast estste, no wife but a few servants who take care of his practical affairs. He is offended by what he sees as the proliferation of fake magicians. When we first meet him he demonstrates that almost all The members of the York Society of Magicians are not worthy of the name by preforming an amazing act of magic.
We meet Jonathan Strange at about twenty five percent. He is also from an affluent Family. For a few years he tries different pursuits but develops a passion only when he begjns to see himself becoming a magjcian. He obtains independence when his father passes. He begins to purchase books on magic but runs into agents of Mr. Norrell at any sale of interest. He becomes the pupil of Mr. Norrell, Marries and becomes a powerful Magician. England is deeply involved in a war with France. Strange offers his services to Wellington but is first rebuked. Wellington is sceptical of all claims of abiities of magic. Then Strange begjns to create roads over night, shift geographic battle field positions to favour the English, and raises an army from dead soldiers. A lot of time is spent with Wellington.
Much more happens as Strange and Mr. Norrell become rivals. A powerful Fairie helps Strange bring bring a woman back to life, but at a heavy cost.
This is a long book with an old fashioned feel. There are lots of very well developed minor characters. I really felt like I was in this alternative England. We are there when Strange tries to cure the Madness of King George, when brings 24 hour darkness to Venice. He and Norrell have a serious magic powered fight over a book Strange wrote.
After 600 Plus days of lockdown in Metro Manila, I and The City need some magic to keep us going. This book helped me.
I very much enjoyed this book.
Susanna Clarke’s debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Guardian First Book Award. It won the British Book Awards Newcomer of the Year, the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award in 2005. Susanna Susanna Clarke is also the author of the short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu. Piranesi was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, and was awarded Audies Audiobook of the Year, shortlisted for the British Book Awards Audiobook of the Year, the Costa Novel Award, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the RSL Encore Awards, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Awards, the British Science Fiction Association’s Best Novel, the Bloggers Book Award; was a finalist for the Goodreads Fantasy Book of the Year, the Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction and the Locus Awards; and was longlisted for the 2021 Booktube Prize. Susanna Clarke lives in Derbyshire.”