This is not a book for individuals with attention spans the size of fruit flies.
Yes, it is long. Yes, it takes some imagination and thoughtfulness to appreciate. There are those however, who appreciate an author who doesn't insult our intelligence or try to manipulate us by telling us exactly how we should feel in every scene. If you need your story spoon-fed to you and refuse to do any of the intellectual heavy lifting required to appreciate good writing then this book probably isn't for you.
The story ultimately belongs to Jonathan Strange and his evolution from a callow and self-centered life of privilege to a man scarred by the losses of war and a literal darkness. Mr. Norrell's narrative is that of a man grown old, fearful of losing what he has, to see that it's nothing at all if he has no one to share it with. In this sense, it is NOT a story about magic, but about PEOPLE. It is the story of the relationship between Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, between Jonathan Strange and his wife, between Mrs. Strange and Mrs. Pol, between Mrs. Pol and The Man with the Thistledownhair, and so on... very rich, complex, interesting relationships.
This book has many rewards for those who open themselves to its beautiful language and the way its story unfolds - with grace and dignity. Not the least of its rewards is how Mr. Segundus' steadfast faith and love for the study of magic is rewarded in the end. It is unfortunate that it has been unfairly maligned in the reviews for not being what some people think it should be, which is shallow and unreflective.
I have literally bought hundreds of audio books on Audible and the reading of this book is by far the worst I have ever heard. It is quite possible that the topic is interesting, captivating even, but the narration and delivery is soulless, and insipid. I should have listened to the sample before purchasing, but it is hard to imagine a reading this bad. Try "Stiff" by Mary Roach instead if you like this genre.
This is one of the best Audible books I have ever purchased. Vowell's insights are sharp and witty, and at times even poignant. Her delivery is always right on the money (and they are, after all, her stories). My favorites are "Pop-a-shot" and the story about people who compare themselves to Rosa Parks. Still, this whole book is a winner. GET THIS AUDIBLE BOOK NOW!
This is a gem of a book. It is interesting, and informative, and answers all the questions you've ever wanted to ask about being dead or what happens to you (your body, that is) when you die. Notwithstanding, in the end, it becomes an affirmation of life, as Roach always treats the subject not only respectfully, but calls out many instances where the dead can truly serve the living.
This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever heard. Sebold's writing is amazing. She captures the main character's emotional growth and wistfulness without being emotionally manipulative or contrived.
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