Review :: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Hugo Award 2005, World Fantasy Award for Best novel in 2005, longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, nominated for the 2004 Whitbread First Novel Award, Guardian First Book Award and Nebula Award 2005.
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me.
Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic.
Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats.
But the partnership soon turns to rivalry. Mr Norrell has never conquered his lifelong habits of secrecy, while Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous magic. He becomes fascinated by the shadowy figure of the Raven King, and his heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens, not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.
Elegant, witty and utterly compelling, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell creates a past world of great mystery and beauty that will hold the reader in thrall until the last page.
Susanna Clarke (born 1959) is a British author best known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), an alternate history fantasy. The novel has been published in more than 30 countries. It was the Book Sense Book of the Year, Time Magazine’s #1 Book of the Year, and the winner of the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the World Fantasy Award.
At 1,000 pages long, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is an epic nineteenth-century tale ”combining the extraordinary imaginative skills of Philip Pullman with the witty, gently satirical prose style of Jane Austen”. It portrays the lives of the last two practising magicians in England. In the edges of darkness lurks the shadowy figure of the Raven