Jain'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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's review
Jan 12, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: british-literature, fantasy, fiction, short-stories, 2010-reads, european, female-author, fantasy-of-manners
Read in January, 2010

The first few stories in this book have female protagonists, and I'd just concluded that the "Ladies" of the title indicated an underlying theme as well as being the protagonists of the first story, when a number of male protagonists crept in and spoiled my theory. Considering how masculine the perspective of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is, albeit the book has a number of interesting and important female characters, I was a little disappointed to be wrong. The stories in and of themselves, however, aren't in the least disappointing.

Clarke's writing style translates surprisingly well to shorter fiction, and she lets herself be a little experimental in several of her stories to great effect. ("On Lickerish Hill," for instance, is written in what seems to my untutored eyes to be a highly credible 19th c. Suffolk dialect, while "Mr Simonellii, or the Fairy Widower" is an alternately creepy and hilarious story told through diary entries.)

Several characters from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell make appearances, though these short stories can certainly be enjoyed without first having read that book.

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