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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Clarke, Susanna

(Book - 2004)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Print
Baker & Taylor
All is going well for rich, reclusive Mr Norell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil, in a witty fantasy set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century England. 200,000 first printing. $200,000 ad/promo. BOMC, One Spirit, & Science Fiction Book Club.

McMillan Palgrave
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington's army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange's heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke's magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.


Holtzbrinck
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.
 
But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative-the very opposite of Mr Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington's army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange's heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke's magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that eight hundred pages leave readers longing for more.


Baker
& Taylor

In nineteenth-century England, all is going well for rich, reclusive Mr Norell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, c2004
ISBN: 1582344167
Branch Call Number: FIC C
Characteristics: 782 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

It is 1808 and Napoleon is ravaging Wellington's army. Once powerful English magic has now dwindled to simply theoretical ideas and history until the reclusive, uptight Mr. Norrell reveals himself to be practicing actual magic and quickly becomes the toast of London society. When he takes on the ... Read More »

A historic battle unfolds between England's most competent and well-educated gentleman magicians.


From the critics


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Nov 24, 2014
  • Persnickety77 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Magic is not usually something I am interesting in, but Clarke really sets a mood. i wanted the 'raven king' and english magic to really exist.
it's true, i didn't want it to end. and it's one thousand pages! but i heard she's writing another one set in the same world. yay!

Nov 12, 2014
  • RozQuin rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The world portrayed is unique, detailed and immersive. I love this book so much that I will buy every second hand copy I find to re-home with a new reader.

An absolutely beautiful, dark read.

Jul 28, 2014
  • jonathanhowells rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great book! Best described as " Harry Potter for adults ". Despite its length I found this to be quite a fast read.

May 28, 2014
  • jbacone rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I found something enjoyable in every sentence - including foot notes and description I would normally skim or skip. This is the most enjoyable book I've read in a few years.

Jan 28, 2014
  • JackieFC13 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is was not what I expected. I read it over a summer and was so hoping it would be extremely magical and it was, but it wasn't like todays magic books. It is an old magic, is the best way to describe this book. It is by no means Harry Potter, it is almost darker and again older, much much older. It isn't for everyone you have to enjoy this style of writing. It isn't an easy read you really have to pay attention so that you truly understand what is happening. However at half way through it really grabbed me, was difficult to put down and became much more interesting. I recommend that if you begin this book give it about 200 to 250 pages before you scrap it

Nov 21, 2013
  • LaPhenixa rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Sheesh! It kept going! This book came to me highly recommended, so I was eager to pick it up. I didn't really get interested in this book until the last 10 chapters, but even then it wasn't worth it.

Mar 13, 2013
  • dulynoted rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. Although it is very long, it is a page turner. The characters are endearing and memorable, and I found myself giggling at the humor. The only reason I am not giving the book five stars is that for around 100 pages towards the end of the book, it felt like a long book. But it soon picked up again, and I would recommend it to anyone.

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This novel has its charms, but I do wish the plot had been tightened up. I could have read half a dozen other books in the time it took me to finish this one.

Feb 09, 2013
  • PAUL CHRISTOPHER STAMP rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Loved it! For those of you looking for an intelligently written fantasy book, please give Susanna Clarke a try.

Jan 14, 2013
  • almahlke rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Incredibly complex and well-constructed historical fantasy meets magickal adventure. Don't be daunted by the page count - by the end, you'll be looking for the sequel!

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Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry. Imagine then the interest that surrounded Miss Wintertowne! No young lady ever had such advantages before: for she died upon the Tuesday, was raised to life in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was married upon the Thursday; which some people thought too much excitement for one week.

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

what the other servants did not know was that the new manservant had a temper . . . that he was sometimes sarcastic, often rude, and that he had a very high opinion of his own abilities and a correspondingly low one of other people’s. The new manservant did not mention his failings to the other servants for the simple reason that he knew nothing of them. Though he often found himself quarrelling with his friends and neighbours, he was always puzzled to discover the reason and always supposed that it must be their fault.

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

On the second day Strange sat down to write another fifty of so pages and immediately got into difficulties because he could not think of a rhyme for ‘let love suffice’. ‘Sunk in vice’ was not promising; ‘a pair of mice’ was nonsense, and ‘what’s the price?’ merely vulgar. He struggled for an hour, could think of nothing, went for a ride to loosen his brains and never looked at his poem again.

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The pattern of the pools had meaning. The pools had been written on to the field by the rain. The pools were a magic worked by the rain, just as the tumbling of the black birds against the grey was a spell that the sky was working and the motion of grey-brown grasses was a spell that the wind made. Everything had meaning.

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

“Of course one never really knows what servants are thinking,” continued Mr Norrell blithely, forgetting that he was speaking to one at that moment . . .

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It was raining outside and, what was more surprizing, inside too;

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

But it sometimes happens that when one acts quickly and with great resolve, all the indecisiveness and doubt comes afterwards, when it is too late.

Feb 15, 2013
  • andreareads rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

To a magician there is very little difference between a mirror and a door.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

"The first shall pass his life alone; he shall be his own gaoler; The second shall tread lonely roads, the storm above his head, seeking a dark tower upon a high hillside..."

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