Terry 's Reviews > The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke
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Jan 24, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction, fantasy, short-stories
Read from January 19 to 23, 2012

3.5 stars

I have to admit that I found the first four stories in this collection only fair-to-middling, though the title tale had some nice moments of understated menace. From the point of "Mr. Simonelli, or the Fairy Widower" on, however, I was fully on-board and greatly enjoyed the rest of the collection.

Simonelli is a great character, equal parts self-aggrandizing rogue (for, we learn, obvious cultural reasons) and concerned pastor of his flock. I'd love to see more of his reminiscences in a longer format from Clarke. He's quite a resourceful and entertaining character.

Tom Brightwind shows us that while fairys are generally unpleasant in their interactions with others (both of the human and fae persuasion), they are somehow capable at times of maintaining the friendship of those that are their betters (morally, if not socially). I'm surprised that David Montefiore hasn't met a sad fate due to his constant remonstrances to his self-satisfied Fairy Friend, but I imagine his equanimous and generally pleasant character helps to protect him. This tale was, in some ways, most like _Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell_, at least in the inclusion of copious notes giving amusing and enlightening details on the fairy culture which the tale displays.

"John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner" was great for several reasons: first it is the first tale in which we get a first-hand look, however erroneous, at the mythical Raven King; second it had some of the best, laugh-out-loud moments in the whole collection.

Overall an entertaining set of stories, though I wish Clarke would get around to writing another, more substantial tome in the vein of Strange & Norrell. (Perhaps Mr. Simonelli is available?)
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Reading Progress

01/19/2012 page 42
18.0%
01/22/2012 page 179
76.0% "Liking the second half much better than the first."
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent It took Clarke ten years to write JS & MN. It's only been eight since it was released so we probably have a couple more years to wait for the sequel.


Terry Yeah...I'm not surpised given the amount of obvious craft she puts into her prose that it takes some time. My only worry is that I haven't heard any word about another book being in the works, so we may have much longer than a couple of years to wait. Oh well.


message 3: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Dulac3 wrote: "Yeah...I'm not surpised given the amount of obvious craft she puts into her prose that it takes some time. My only worry is that I haven't heard any word about another book being in the works, so w..."

Worse, she might be a one book writer. I read that she said if she knew JS&MN was going to take ten years, she never would have started it.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Quick! Someone show this review to Clarke's agent and publisher!


Terry I don't know that it would help Richard. I wish it would!


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Never doubt that authors listen to their public. Even the ones who Loftily Ignore Vox Populi are aware of it, and heeding it in their own way.

I'm racking my brain to come up with some connection I can exploit!


Terry I'd love to have a long story about the Raven King, but I wonder if her Regency style prose would suite the time period?


message 8: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I think the next book is supposed to be about Childermass and Vinculus. A Raven King story would be really cool, though.


message 9: by Terry (last edited Jan 24, 2012 06:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Terry Oh Man...that would be sweet! I thought Childermass and Vinculus were the best characters in Strange & Norrell. Sheesh, you mean now I have to wait in anticipation for a book that may never exist? Great!


message 10: by Richard Reviles Censorship (last edited Jan 24, 2012 06:51AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways From the lady herself:

The next book will be set in the same world and will probably start a few years after Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell finishes. I feel very much at home in the early nineteenth century and am not inclined to leave it. I doubt that the new book will be a sequel in the strictest sense. There are new characters to be introduced, though probably some old friends will appear too. I’d like to move down the social scale a bit. Strange and Norrell were both rich, with pots of money and big estates. Some of the characters in the second book have to struggle a bit harder to keep body and soul together. I expect there’ll be more about John Uskglass, the Raven King, and about how magic develops in England.


Exciting!


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent I may have to re-read JS&MN during the quarter century before the next book comes out.


Terry Very cool Richard. Glad to see that apparently this is on the books as in-progress (or at least "projected").


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Eight years on, I'm a little out of countenance with Miss Clarke. I'll read the next one, don't mistake me, but really now! EIGHT years?


Terry I guess it makes George R. R. Martin's hiatus between books in his epic fantasy saga a drop in the bucket by comparison.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Martin's excuse was mostly health, topped with promo duties for a monster bestselling series that exceeded even the wildest masturbatory fantasies of the publisher.

If Clarke is ill, which *ptooptoo* goddesses forefend, I haven't heard about it. She just takes a long time to write. But this is longer than the King James Committee took to translate the damn Bible!


Terry It appears that she takes her craft very seriously...and carefully. Or else has a lot of other hobbies that retain her interest.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways You can't hurry art. It's always been true. And I would defend JS&MN as art against any literary Savonarola eager to cast the merely popular into the bonfire of the vanities (which book brings out the Savonarola in me, to be frank).


Terry Not a fan of Tom Wolfe? :) I've never read him myself.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I don't dislike you, so I say don't do it. The Right Stuff is his best work, and it's marginal. Say, oh, 1.999* of ten.


message 20: by mark (new)

mark monday nice review! loved Strange & Norrell and can't believe that its taken me so long to read this one.

did not know there was even a sequel in the works. amazing news!


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