Peter's Reviews > Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
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it was ok
bookshelves: literary-fiction, fantasy

Lifeless
The overwhelming feeling after finishing this book is a sense of relief and then puzzlement that I did commit so much time to completing the task.

I found the book "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" a great disappointment on various levels and I may have been tempted to consider higher rating if it had not been so long. So that was my first and main disappointment - you took away hours that I could have spent on some great books. For once I have to say that the TV production was so much better than the novel.

With any book, you want interesting characters, great portrayal of the environment, an enthralling pacey plot and an engaging writing style. The characters, for the length of the book, are quite bizarrely very one dimensional and the surrounding characters I had absolutely no empathy with. The environment was okay and I did feel that the atmosphere of the early 19th century England came through but nothing spectacular. The plot is so weak that the involvement with the Napoleonic Wars didn't even generate much interest. It was all very flat. If there had been a severe editing job done we may have had a pacier story and about half the length.

I am surprised that it has received the plaudits that it has and I can only assume that the context of the story was a big draw. We all want to believe that magic exists and that somewhere a magician is just waiting to develop the skills handed down from Merlin. If that was to happen I can only hope that it's NOT to someone like Strange or Norrell and that there would be a wonderful plot of twists and surprises, with captivating characters to bring it all to life.

Maybe that's the frustration it could have been a great story, half the length and a fantasy to remember.
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Reading Progress

December 29, 2016 – Shelved
June 3, 2017 – Started Reading
June 26, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Hah, I loved this book, though I admit it's very long and slow-paced. But I think I was the only person in my whole book club who liked it.


message 2: by Beata (new)

Beata Honest review, Peter :))) chapeau bas as you gracefully finished reading the book you didn't enjoy that much :)


Lars Jerlach Excellent and spot on review. I too wondered what all the fuss was about as I found this an incredibly tedious exercise.


Peter Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "Hah, I loved this book, though I admit it's very long and slow-paced. But I think I was the only person in my whole book club who liked it."

Tadiana, I'm delighted you loved it as it was a lot to invest in if you didn't. Poor little old me :(


Peter Beata wrote: "Honest review, Peter :))) chapeau bas as you gracefully finished reading the book you didn't enjoy that much :)"

Thanks, Beata. I suppose I kept hoping it would take off as I do enjoy the magical world. :):)


Peter Lars wrote: "Excellent and spot on review. I too wondered what all the fuss was about as I found this an incredibly tedious exercise."

I appreciate the comment Lars, did you finish it as well?


message 7: by Lars (last edited Oct 09, 2018 12:59PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lars Jerlach Yes I did. In retrospect that was probably not the right thing to do as I came to loathe the experience so much that I couldn't even get myself to watch the TV adaptation.


Peter Lars wrote: "Yes I did. In retrospect that was probably not the right thing to do as I came to loathe the experience so much that I couldn't even get myself to watch the TV adaptation."

I hear ya!


Lars Jerlach ; )


message 10: by Paromjit (new)

Paromjit I am impressed you found the will to finish reading this, Peter.....shame it really was not worth it....great review though. :):)


Peter Thanks very much, Paromjit. Never again, lesson learned :):)


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