Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Book - 2004 | First U.S. edition.
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At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England--until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician, the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome, and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.


Time #1 Book of the Year
Book Sense Book of the Year
People Top Ten Books of the Year
Winner of the Hugo Award
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Salon.com Top Ten of 2004
Winner of the World Fantasy Award
Nancy Pearl's Top 12 Books of 2004
Washington Post Book World 's Best of 2004
Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction 2004
San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2004
Winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel
Chicago Tribune Best of 2004
Seattle Times 25 Best Books of 2004
Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top 12 Books of 2004
Village Voice "Top Shelf"
Raleigh News & Observer Best of 2004
Rocky Mountain News critics' favorites of 2004

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2004.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9781620409909
1620409909
Branch Call Number: CLA
Characteristics: 782 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm

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a
AnnsLibrary63
Nov 15, 2020

I love this book. It is huge but get a bookmark. I esp. liked all the little footnotes. It's charming and a little (very little) historical but while I read it I really did want to live in that place and time when magic came back to England. The depiction of fairies as not benign creatures was very refreshing.

s
SherryMarieJ
Sep 25, 2020

Recommended by Tor - Sarah Waites

l
lukasevansherman
May 15, 2020

Waaaaaaaay too long. Dope Lord Byron cameo though.

f
fionajay
Apr 13, 2020

This is a great tale of two magical rivals. Set in nineteenth century England, its really imaginative and gripping - I read the whole tome in a short time and couldn't put it down. Read it before you discover the very good BBC DVD.

CircMary Apr 08, 2020

This book still enthralled me the second time around. I loved the Dickens/Austen-style of writing, the slow measured pace, and yes, even the footnotes. And no character has scared me quite like the Man With the Thistledown Hair. It might not appeal to every reader, especially those looking for fast-paced action in a fantasy read, but if you let yourself settle into this fantastical world, you may find yourself as hooked as I have been.

d
DrPaul_0
Nov 26, 2019

Clever fantasy involving magic and land of faerie in Great Britain of the early 19th century. A little slow at times, but builds to an exciting climax.

k
Kevin J Wilson
Oct 02, 2019

A beautifully written history book. Be warned: if you go in expecting a straightforward story with a linear plot, character beats, etc - you may be disappointed. This book is full of fun footnotes, wonderful description of whimsical magic and fairy logic, and so much interesting historical concepts. After finishing this book I felt like I had some sense of what historical England felt like. But the same way you don't really learn the end of George Washington reading a history book, you may not get a satisfying ending here.

If you'd like something like that I highly suggest the television adaptation, which I hear does a good job of condensing and focusing the story here. But this does not mean this book is bad by any means. It's just a different beast.

HCL_staff_reviews Aug 20, 2018

A grand mix of historical fiction, magic, and faerie, this book is set in early 19th-century Britain. At the time, the question among theoretical magicians (those who studied magic) was, given the glorious history of magic in Britain, why was it not actually being practiced? Two magicians arise to offer their "practical" magic to the British government, to the Duke of Wellington, and to individuals, with amazing results. A huge (780+ pages), award-winning first novel. — Liz A., Southdale Library

this book was so good that i read it as slowly as i possibly could because the prospect of not having this book to read was so terrible. when i got to the last hundred pages, i abandoned it for a month. my copy was so horrifically overdue that i just returned it and waited until i could get to the bookstore. then i finished the book. when it was over, i sat and stared into space for about half an hour. i asked myself what there was, without this book. i asked myself what i would do, now that this had ended. i signed up for bookmatch. i trawled the internet for recs.

nothing is good like this book is good. there are lots of good books in the world. shakespeare, many people agree, was a good writer. i've always loved jane austen. there are hundreds of wonderful classics, and hundreds of new gems coming out each year. there are books that read like poetry and books that can make you laugh out loud in public like an idiot.

nothing is good like this book is good. not to say that it's the best book ever written, which i don't have an opinion on really because i haven't read every book ever written. but i do know that this book is special. it's different from other books. i don't think it has to be, necessarily. i think lots of other people COULD write like this (maybe not quite as well, or as seemingly effortlessly, but maybe) but they refuse to. it's like susanna clarke comes from a totally different place. she is a master. i know this book took a lot of hard work to create, but there's also something innate to the author that comes out; talent, of course, loads, but also a total uniqueness. of course i've read other stuff like that, which shocked me with uniqueness of purpose. but she combines that with the work and research, the talent, the honed technique, the wide background of references, the sophistication, the confidence, the ambition. also she's true to the time while also having a diverse cast of characters and it's so natural and well-written. it's like she tapped into the vat of pure human emotion and wrote this whole book on some sort of supernatural high. and then edited it very, very well?

reading this book made me feel like no other book had before. it was sort of a harry potter feeling. you know when you were a kid and you read harry potter? it's a little like that. but it's more, because you're older now, and because this book is older. this book is at least a thousand years old. because of all the research that went into this book, how deep it cuts, the depth of emotion it displays, the sheer realness of it all. you feel like it's real, and yet it's perfectly magical. this book makes you feel like magic is real.

susanna clarke, if you're out there, please write another book. susanna, i will read your grocery lists. i will read your motivational post-it notes. if you wrote a book that was just reviews of different vacuum cleaners, i would read that.

in conclusion, five stars. please read this book, so that i feel less alone in the world, and also for you, because you'll love it, or maybe you'll think its boring. some people think this book is boring, apparently. it did win a lot of prizes, though, so most people are on my side about this one.

j
julia_sedai
Jun 12, 2018

I can't believe I didn't read this till now! It is pretty much a summary of all my favourite things in one, long book! Regency period, the Duke of Wellington, dry narrator, footnotes, mentions of Jane Austen's books, libraries, country mansions, England, faeries, MAGIC! Seriously. I can't recommend this enough. I hope this author writes more in the same world! I couldn't put it down. I haven't stayed up late to read in a long time.

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Quotes

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k
kmarushy
Aug 26, 2015

"He understood for the first time that the world is not dumb at all, but merely waiting for someone to speak to it in a language it understands."

k
kmarushy
Aug 26, 2015

"To be more precise, it was the colour of heartache."

k
kmarushy
Aug 26, 2015

"There is nothing in the world so easy to explain as failure - it is, after all, what everybody does all the time."

k
kmarushy
Aug 26, 2015

"She wore a gown the colour of storms, shadows, and rain and a necklace of broken promises and regrets."

k
kmarushy
Aug 26, 2015

"Can a magician kill by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange. Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might", he admitted, "but a gentleman never would."

SPL_STARR Jun 16, 2015

"Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians."

a
andreareads
Feb 15, 2013

It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry. Imagine then the interest that surrounded Miss Wintertowne! No young lady ever had such advantages before: for she died upon the Tuesday, was raised to life in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was married upon the Thursday; which some people thought too much excitement for one week.

a
andreareads
Feb 15, 2013

what the other servants did not know was that the new manservant had a temper . . . that he was sometimes sarcastic, often rude, and that he had a very high opinion of his own abilities and a correspondingly low one of other people’s. The new manservant did not mention his failings to the other servants for the simple reason that he knew nothing of them. Though he often found himself quarrelling with his friends and neighbours, he was always puzzled to discover the reason and always supposed that it must be their fault.

a
andreareads
Feb 15, 2013

On the second day Strange sat down to write another fifty of so pages and immediately got into difficulties because he could not think of a rhyme for ‘let love suffice’. ‘Sunk in vice’ was not promising; ‘a pair of mice’ was nonsense, and ‘what’s the price?’ merely vulgar. He struggled for an hour, could think of nothing, went for a ride to loosen his brains and never looked at his poem again.

a
andreareads
Feb 15, 2013

The pattern of the pools had meaning. The pools had been written on to the field by the rain. The pools were a magic worked by the rain, just as the tumbling of the black birds against the grey was a spell that the sky was working and the motion of grey-brown grasses was a spell that the wind made. Everything had meaning.

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clairelisabeth
Jul 19, 2017

clairelisabeth thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Tytusmk
Jul 27, 2015

Tytusmk thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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