David Jay's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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's review
Jan 29, 2011

really liked it

A really excellent, though overlong, book. Clarke creates a rich and believable world in 19th century England, where magic is real and fairies are frightening. This book was called a 'Harry Potter for adults' but, aside from the obvious element of magic, I don't think it was like the Harry Potter books at all. Not better or worse, just very different. I particularly liked how Clarke set the book up with scads of footnotes, to coax you into believing that all of this was, in fact, a true story of long ago. And, I must confess, there were moments where I found myself forgetting that this was fantastical fiction.

However, there was absolutely no need for this book to be nearly 850 pages. There are some books that are really long and need to be just that long (The Crimson Petal and the White was just under 900 pages and there wasn't a single wasted word... the last Harry Potter book was close to 800 pages and that length seemed justified as well); this is not one of them. I don't know what Clarke's editor was thinking but I could easily have dispensed with 200 pages of this book. There are so, so many tangents. Most are very enjoyable but carrying this book around for nearly two months broke the strap on my bag and re-aggravated my lower back pain!
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2011 – Started Reading
January 29, 2011 – Shelved
February 15, 2011 –
page 295
February 23, 2011 –
page 410
March 3, 2011 –
page 550
March 9, 2011 –
page 683
80.45% "my favorite line so far..."Immediately he became convinced that all of the cupboards in the house were full of pineapples.""
March 11, 2011 –
page 750
March 13, 2011 – Finished Reading

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