[Novel] Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)

Jonathan-Strange-Mr-NorrellA modern novel that despite being relatively easy to digest does full justice to Victorian flowery prose that even Jane Austen could learn a thing or two from. Unfortunately, while it is a pure joy to read on linguistic level, it also commits one of the mortal sins of writing — not introducing a clear goal, and tugging along the narrative seemingly making stuff up as it goes, like some TV series.

Nonetheless, Jonathan Strange’s endearing characters, absolutely beautiful prose, and a fascinating world of magic of impeccable detail still make it into one of the most enjoyable fantasy novels I’ve read.

Positive: Negative:
Absolutely beautiful Victorian prose that is full of effective sarcastic wit and is just a joy to read Struggles at establishing a clear goal, the story ultimately lacking the punch
Fascinating world of magic that is conveyed with such detail I ended up googling John Uskglass to check if he was actually real or not Extremely slow pace
Interesting, relatively profound, likable characters
A couple of cool twists liven up the plot
Profound knowledge of Victorian history and culture


3 thoughts on “[Novel] Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)

  1. Have you watched the BBC adaptation? I must regretfully admit that I didn’t finish the book (I got it like 10 years ago) because of some random other stuff that occupied my time. I watched the mini series now and thought it to be excellent. So I think I’ll give the book another try some time in the future too.


    1. I’ve never watched the series, but I might check them out. Either way, I really loved the book on prose level (as a translator and an aspiring writer myself) but the story is not really that mind-blowing or anything, just kind of nice.

      Maybe it would be easier for you get through the book in audiobook format? They had a really amazing reader to do it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y96JQXtHvs


      1. Oh no, I hate audio books. I only listen to music 🙂

        The book wasn’t difficult really or anything, it was just long, and my attention sometimes (often) shifts towards other things, and then I don’t remember enough about the earlier thing to go back to it.

        What I’ve heard the TV series is actually a bit different from the book, but it has its own strengths. So I’m interested in catching those differences myself.


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