Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been around for a few years but I haven't read it until now. I'm sure I've seen it, especially when it came out; its distinctive white-on-black book jacket, formidable size, and intriguing title. I saw it again just recently while browsing the titles in a tiny library in western Massachusetts, and I took a look through. Seems like my kind of book, so the next time I visited my own library, I picked it up.
Formidable is right! This beast is 782 pages and I'm about half way
through it at this point. Susanna Clarke has taken it upon herself to write a
'historic' novel about the re-invigoration of English magic at the time of
the Napoleonic wars, in the style of the era. What this means is that
each of the chapters is titled, the story is carefully conceived, and
told in that slow, deliberative style the seems well suited to you
people of comfortable means, who may sit in a parlour and read to one
another for a few hours each day to pass the time between tea and dinner
whilst the servants busy about, out of sight
Think serial, a la The Count of Monte Cristo.
Just not as exciting.
I'm hopeful that second part of this tome has some action. It's been a
little thin thus far, but I can see the chess pieces being set about the
board, so there is plenty of opportunity for it. Let's bring it home Susanna!
More to come.