We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Audiobook

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.
Regular Price:$41.97
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.

But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.

All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative, the very opposite of Mr. Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington's army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr. Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different. For Mr. Norrell, their power is something to be cautiously controlled, while Jonathan Strange will always be attracted to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic. He becomes fascinated by the ancient, shadowy figure of the Raven King, a child taken by fairies who became king of both England and Faerie, and the most legendary magician of all. Eventually Strange's heedless pursuit of long-forgotten magic threatens to destroy not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything that he holds dear.

Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke's magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that 32 hours leave readers longing for more.

©2004 Susanna Clarke; (P)2004 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, and Bloomsbury Publishing

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 2005
  • World Fantasy Award Winner, 2005
  • Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2005

"A smashing success....An exceptionally compelling, brilliantly creative, and historically fine-tuned piece of work." (Booklist)
"Extraordinary....Immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor, and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike." (Publishers Weekly)
"Ravishing...superb...combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien." (Time)
"Clarke welcomes herself into an exalted company of British writers - not only, some might argue, Dickens and Austen, but also the fantasy legends Kenneth Grahame and George MacDonald - as well as contemporary writers like Susan Cooper and Philip Pullman." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4905 )
5 star
 (2429)
4 star
 (1223)
3 star
 (622)
2 star
 (342)
1 star
 (289)
Overall
4.2 (2774 )
5 star
 (1439)
4 star
 (694)
3 star
 (383)
2 star
 (138)
1 star
 (120)
Story
4.5 (2767 )
5 star
 (1839)
4 star
 (581)
3 star
 (228)
2 star
 (58)
1 star
 (61)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Thomas S. Atkins 07-01-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful language, little to say!"

    After hearing the NPR review I immediately downloaded the book, kept waiting for the awesome story to develop.... Still waiting!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lilly 06-06-15
    Lilly 06-06-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Can't finish it"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The story is complete nonsense. It should not have been listed under historical fiction at all


    What does Simon Prebble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Simon Prebble's performance is fine, otherwise I would not have made it through the 4 chapters I have listened to.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Devin 05-27-12
    Devin 05-27-12 Member Since 2011

    Avid listener of Scifi and Fantasy. I've found so many great books with the help of member reviews. Hopefully I can return the favor.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    226
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    207
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    23
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clever Witty Sleeping Pill"

    I've tried and failed to finish this audiobook on several occasions, and its not for lack of trying. I stuck it out until I was at least halfway through(the 2nd time) so I believe I made it past the "slow beginning". I'm normally a fan of very long books, and I hate to give up on a story but this one just falls short for me.

    If Jane Austin and Charles Dickens had a child who wrote fantasy books, I think those books would be a lot like this. This is more a book of manners than a plot driven story. The writing is very clever and witty, but so much of the story is centered on stuffy gentlemen and ladies discussing magic in drawing rooms and parlors. Don't get me wrong, the writing is very clever and witty. You can tell author has great talent, she just focuses that talent in the wrong areas of the story.

    Judging by the other reviews a lot of people love this book. Personally I don't see the attraction. I'll admit there is some amusing dialog and the setting is well thought out, but that only goes so far. Don't get me wrong this is a very well written book from a talented author, but some witty repartee can only carry a novel so far.

    For me this was a wasted credit. Listen to the sample before purchasing. It just goes to show that one person's masterpiece is another's snoozefest.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Silver Spring, MD, USA 09-04-06
    Katherine Silver Spring, MD, USA 09-04-06 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    107
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    253
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Failure To Engage"

    Maybe I'm missing out on what's so "enchanting" or "enthralling" about this book, but I simply didn't find it very entertaining. At 32 hours of listening time, I didn't expect every moment to be a completely enrapturing experience, but there were times that I honestly felt like it was a chore to tune my iPod to this book to finish it.

    The storyline was very interesting, and at times Clarke has moments of real magic in her wordcraft (i.e. the madness of Mrs. Delgado) but the "historical" information inserted between the action made this book read much more like a textbook than a work of fiction, which I'm sure is what Ms. Clarke had in mind.

    As a fictional textbook, Ms. Clarke's writing is right on the money-- her stylistic execution is perfect at convincing the reader they are studying a Victorian history of the magical lives of the two characters. (I'd like to reiterate what a genius she is at creating this illusion- it's flawless.) This, unfortuantely, is the work's main downfall: the perfection Clarke achieves in Victorian textbook style makes for dry and often downright boring reading.

    As a fan of writers such as Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and the Brontes, the style of this book was very familiar, and the choice of narrator was excellent to convey this style. However, this book seemed more suited to the readers contemporary with the above authors, used to dry commentary and analysis and slowly-paced action.

    I usually listen to audio books as a means of passing the time on my 45-minute commute, and I found myself falling asleep at the wheel a few times during this one, not to mention having my mind wander off constantly because I couldn't keep my concentration on the book-- a problem I have honestly never had before.

    My recommendation: if you live for Victorian literature, you will enjoy this book, but if you're looking for a well-paced storyline that will keep you from falling asleep at the wheel, skip it until an abriged version is released.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly PLYMOUTH, MN, USA 09-14-05
    Kelly PLYMOUTH, MN, USA 09-14-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I didn't want it to end."

    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.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Eagan, MN, USA 01-24-05
    Stephen Eagan, MN, USA 01-24-05 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    363
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Skip it!! The Only Audio Book I didn't Finish!!"

    I got about 4 hours into this book and was still hating every minute of it. I finally took it off my device and *paid* for a different download!! I reads like Dickens... so if you are an english lit. professor - go for it. If you wounldn't spend a credit on a classic English novel, pass on this!! Seriously boring and annoying.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Zurich, ON, Canada 05-31-14
    Jim Zurich, ON, Canada 05-31-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Move about as fast as a glacier."
    Would you try another book from Susanna Clarke and/or Simon Prebble?

    Absoluty not, how she got he story in print is a mystery.


    What was most disappointing about Susanna Clarke’s story?

    She drones on and on and on about small details until you fall asleep.


    Did Simon Prebble do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Character were fine, but she over describe the characters till suspension of disbelief in totally shattered.


    Any additional comments?

    I would like to get my credit back, so I could get something better to listen to.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 09-26-15
    Jennifer 09-26-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Someone lied"

    I bought this book on the suggestion of an internet opinion site. They said it was wonderful, charming, a Harry Potter for adults... Not true. Some books get better as they go this book gets better as it ends.

    True it is charming but I would never watch paint dry no matter how charming you make it. This book is perhaps the most boring book I have read including college text books.

    Read this book if you wished Harry Potter was bed bound.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joe 01-19-15
    joe 01-19-15 Member Since 2012

    joe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Impossible to follow and never went anywhere."
    Would you try another book from Susanna Clarke and/or Simon Prebble?

    For the life of me I can't figure out why this book is popular. The book built up for 20 hours then sort of kind of went somewhere for the last few.

    The narrator did not help either. His reading could not have been less enthusiastic.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica CORDOVA, TN, United States 05-28-14
    Jessica CORDOVA, TN, United States 05-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not what I was Expecting"

    I don't know if I would have finished this if I was reading an actual book. I love the idea of the story, and the details, but got bogged down in all of the minutiae. The footnotes were amusing, and the narrator did a wonderful job.

    In the end, I was not disappointed that I listed to it, but I am not as much of a fan as others are.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.