Nastassja's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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's review
Jul 30, 2012

it was amazing
Read from June 30 to July 30, 2012

This book has quickly become one of my favorites. Absolutely enchanting (pun intended), intriguing, and delightful. Take for example this short passage:

They were waiting in a quiet part of the wood for the hunters to appear, when a single wolf passed by their tree. He was the handsomest of his kind, with fine, dark eyes and a pelt the colour of wet slate. He looked up into the tree and addressed the gentleman in a language that sounded like the shatter of water over stones and the sighing of wind amongst bare branches and the crackle of fire consuming dead leaves.

Countless passages left me breathless they were so beautifully written. And what a story! The book takes place during the Napoleonic wars, but offers an alternative version of European history, one where magic is real and is returning to England via our two protagonists: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Clarke’s dialogue and social commentary is rather Austen-esque. In turn you will stumble on equal doses of eloquent wit, history, fantasy, and horror. Some of the more disturbing aspects of the story are brilliantly twisted. You love and care about the characters, and her descriptions are so vivid that no matter how fantastical a scene there is always a clear picture of it in your mind’s eye.

There are not many 800+ page books I would gladly re-read, but this is definitely one of them. I only wish I could give it more than five stars. Highly recommend.

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