Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
Published: January 1, 2004
Genres: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback (1006 pages)
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England—until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.
Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell has the style of Charles Dickens mixed with the social comedy of Jane Austen with a little bit of magic sprinkled on top. Deliciously sarcastic, witty, mysterious and entertaining the whole way through. Magic is handled in a way that was so refreshing and unique. It flows beautifully and isn’t chopping like old-fashioned novels are wont to be. There’s a slight eeriness woven throughout that makes it so compelling. I’m not going to lie, though. It took me a good 4 weeks to plow through the whole thing. It doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, but at the same time it doesn’t wrap everything up for you – it leaves you to imagine what will happen next. It’s possible that the author left it open for a sequel, but there just wasn’t enough story left for an entire book (as far as I can tell).
So, do you like it better when the author leaves the rest of the story up to you, or do you like everything tied up at the end, complete with a nice bow?
I tend to lean on the ending all tied-up-in-a-bow side, but I do like to imagine a little bit if the author has tied up most things. I liked the ending in this book. It left just enough to my imagination while still finishing the story.
Content Rating: None