Saturday, 11 April 2009

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke

Read: January 2007

Like a fellow Bloomsbury publishing sensation, this is a book about magic. But while Harry Potter’s magical world is glitzy, exciting and full of dramatic wand waving, the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is dark, dour and academic. It is a startling achievement to produce such a wonderfully unique view of magic. Susanna Clarke has littered this book with wonderful settings, original ideas and a gloriously imaginative plot. It is just a shame that she is not a great writer. The prose is languid, uninspiring and clunky, the characters two-dimensional and the novel about 500 pages too long.

It is rare to read a book which has such a clearly wonderful idea and it is testament to the brilliance of the authors imagination that she was able to make it feel like a dark, gothic library full of shimmering ghosts and half remembered history. This is a good book, just not a well written one.

6 out of 10

1 comment:

World? said...

Although it was years ago I remember I absolutley hated this book! Pretentious. Overwrought. Untamed.