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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell | [Susanna Clarke]

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.
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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

3.9 (3451 )
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4.0 (1440 )
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4.3 (1437 )
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  •  
    Claudia KALISPELL, MT, United States 02-09-12
    Claudia KALISPELL, MT, United States 02-09-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Slow, boring, tedious & disjointed!!!"

    It’s hard to believe all the 5 star ratings!! I love long in depth stories, especially for long road trips. This one kept putting me to sleep which is a bad thing while driving. The narration was good, they story was not. The author uses the word “magic” or “magician” in every other sentence, this does not make it a fantasy.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James McKay Cleveland, OH United States 04-04-05
    James McKay Cleveland, OH United States 04-04-05 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    1
    Overall
    "Sleep Aid..."

    If this book were a sleep aide it would get five stars. This is simply the worst book I've ever spent my monthly listner credit on... as another reviewer put it, it meanders from situation to situation...

    I found myself getting lost amongst the different characters, who all seemed so overly stuffy and pompous that they all kind of blended together.

    One of the reasons that I choose this book was for its sheer length, the other was because of all the POSITIVE reviews... I havent been able to make it through a quarter of it, simply because its so boring and SLOW... I was hoping for something along the lines of a Robert Jordan'esque type book, but what I got was "War & Peace"

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann New York City, NY, USA 01-09-05
    Ann New York City, NY, USA 01-09-05 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    "Remarkable"

    A masterpiece diffucult to put down. Very well done. Sad that it is finished.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G Reinhardt 02-10-08
    G Reinhardt 02-10-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    173
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    742
    88
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    FOLLOWING
    17
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    Overall
    "Don't do it"

    I was unable to tell if this book was so bad because of the poor chap reading the story, or if the actually book was that bad. I found myself struggling to listen and couldn't wait for it to be done. Perhaps the following books are better, but this one is a looser.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil LYNCHBURG, VA, United States 10-01-05
    Phil LYNCHBURG, VA, United States 10-01-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    2
    Overall
    "Please not another footnote!"

    This is a very tedious book. The flow of the story is very slow and it is broken by many footnotes. I guess, the author is pretending that this is a historical textbook of magic. When I reached the end, I no longer cared about any of the characters.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Warren, MI, United States 09-22-05
    Larry Warren, MI, United States 09-22-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "not Potter"

    One reviewer has described this book as "Harry Potter for adults". Sorry, but this book is similiar to Harry Potter books like Cheerios is to a T-bone steak. The book is very slow, the characters not very likeable and the story plodding. There is magic and not everyone can do magic. Other than that, there is no similarity to Harry Potter. Non of the fun, no loveable characters, no real spark. The book has it's moments, but if you are looking for a quick paced, light, fantasy read (ala Harry Potter) look else where.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Durham, NC, USA 02-09-05
    Tim Durham, NC, USA 02-09-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Wonderful book."

    This is the best book I've read in a long time. A great period peice and well imagined.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Benton Beaumont, TX United States 03-19-08
    Jennifer Benton Beaumont, TX United States 03-19-08 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    "One of two"

    I have downloaded and listened to almost one hundred Audible selections. This book is one of two that I was unable to finish. It's not only slow, but repetitive. After a while you just don't care how the story ends.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon 02-29-08
    Sharon 02-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    371
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Couldn't finish...poorly written and silly"

    I tried to get into this book, but it was absurd and poorly written. I getting fed up, putting it down and then going back to it only to listen for a few hours and realize that I had already listen to these same chapters and they still were absurd and silly.,aybe by the second or 3rd section the book was bearable, but my god, who wants to wait 10-15 hours to actually find some shred of evidence of literary value. If you look at my other reviews, you will note that I am not afraid of a long or hard read. (listen) This wasn't hard, it was merely long and useless. Not onlyu a total waste of a credit, a total waste of your time.

    1 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary T Bridson 09-06-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "I was bored silly"

    I was so bored by this book that I couldn't even finish listening to it. I didn't care for or about any of the characters and the story line was not interesting. I would rather read a dictionary than try this one again.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful
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