I have the hardcopy of this book and I had tried to read it at least 3x but simply couldn't get into it. The audio version is simply delightful though. The story wanders and ambles a bit in the beginning but the direction toward the end is just so fantastic you have to believe it will have a sequel.
It took me forever to get through this book. The pace is very slow, the action is almost nonexistent (and when it does exist, it is presented in such an understated way that you can't really get caught up in it). The book rambles on just for the sake of rambling and spends hours introducing characters and plot lines that turn out to be completely irrelevant (and which aren't even revisited prior to the novel's end, leaving the reader with unanswered questions and a sense that the author lost track of what she was writing about). You spend 30 hours building up to a finale that is anticlimactic and abrupt. This book could be great if it were half as long with all the extraneous material cut, but as written, it's like watching paint dry.
A good read, but does not carry the reader into a great story, as other books do. LOTS of references to footnotes throughout the book, which slows it down. Also, long, burdensome descriptions of things that do not involve the storyline. Overall, not gripping, just ‘good’.
In this book, Susanna Clarke brings a fresh, inventive twist to storytelling that I found most enjoyable. Throughout the book, she succeeds in combining factual events and historical characters with the mystical, nether-realm of magic. It is a style very much like Dickens. In fact, I felt as though I were listening to a work of Dickens throughout.
Simon Prebble does a wonderful job with the narration, creating distinct characters and setting the dark mood of the work successfully at every turn.
As enjoyable as this book is, it is not for the undisciplined listener. It is long and demands attentiveness.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell reads like a novel written in the time period it describes. Susanna Clarke captured the spirit and wit of the early 19th century completely brilliantly. The story itself is fun, with a bit of magic and a lot of nods to actual events and persons of the age. Mr. Green's reading is absolute perfection - he grasps the sarcastic tones and emotions of the characters quite well, and had me laughing out loud while walking down the street, earning me a few stares. The novel itself merits a 4-star rating, but Mr. Green gave it that extra little *something* that can't be obtained by reading alone.
Listening to this book was an utter joy to me, directly related to the peerless skill of the narrator in embodying the characters, as well as the sparkling imaginative prose of the author. But here is a caveat: the book is very long, and is not traditionally structured. There are few moments of fever-pitch excitement, but rather a narrative of sustained suspense and wonder. It may not be a roller-coaster, but it's still exciting.
Generally I really enjoyed this one. It is 32 hrs. long, but Clarke's writing and the narrator are good enough to pull it off. However, there are multiple plots going on, not all of which seem important. Norrell and Strange have tension between them. There's the evil fairy that casts spells and confusion over their families and friends. Strange helps to fight the war on the Iberian peninsula. Plus, there are all sorts of little mini-tales about medieval magicians, enchantments of whole towns, the like. To enjoy this one, you have to be prepared (and willing) to follow the author down all sorts of little "side streets" to the avenue of the main plots. If that drives you nuts, well... This might benefit from an abridgement for audio, though, because a lot of these little side show tales could be eliminated without harming the main story line.
Early adopter, longtime listener, bookhungry.
Exquisitely-drawn moments from page to page, majestic movement in the narrative sweep of the whole tale, mysterious and rational at once?Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is half Tristram Shandy, half Sylvia Townsend Warner, and all its own. This beautifully-written novel is well served by the narrator, Simon Prebble. Although the pace is achingly slow, it's that pleasurable ache that you want to go on forever.
Torn between downloading this book or not, between the good and the bad reviews, I'm SO happy I choose to listen to this novel. I didn't even notice how long it was. The story is so well written and read that I must admit I was completely disappointed when it was over. I can't wait to see what the author will come up with in her next book.
Don't listen to the bad reviews. This is the best audible download ever.
This is a nice book about the oddities of the brit. aristocracy of the time, two of whom practice very boring acts of magic on rare ocasions. I have never taken so long to read a book.