Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

strangebookcover.phpThis book has been on my “to read” book for at least two years, but I kept putting it off because of how long it is. At about 800 pages, it’s not a book to pick up on a whim! Finally this past winter, as the holidays died down and the cold kept me in more and more, I lugged this tome home with me for a read.

An alternative history set in England during the Napoleonic Wars, author Clarke’s debut novel follows the separate and intertwining stories of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the two men who have brought magic back to England. Although the study of magic has remained prevalent among certain societies of men, practical magic, that of actually conducting spells and affecting change, has been absent from England since the disappearance of the Raven King several hundred years before.

From writing articles expounding their beliefs on the Raven King to assisting the British government in outmaneuvering Napoleon’s armies, the two men reach the height of London society for their magical knowledge. As Strange tires of his role of pupil to Norrell’s of tutor, and Norrell fears that Strange’s practical skills will surpass his own, the two men fall apart, each to pursue their own directions in life. When magic not produced by either of England’s two practical magicians begins to occur, the two men’s  paths again intertwine.   It’s not a book you’ll consume in a weekend, but if you have some time, this one is well worth a read.

Find and reserve this book in the library.


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