Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke

I've put this book on my Les Memorables-shelf, where I place those books that for some reason were a lot better than I expected them to be and more important, they stuck with me. (And have thus been Memorable).

 

I bought this book during sale for only €2,99, a great deal anyway but this is a story over 1000 pages long. I didn't really know what to expect from it, since I never heard of the book before. But I wanted to give it a try anyway and I was really pleased. When I read this I had only very few experience with fantasy books, but I could already see that it was something special.

I enjoyed reading it. It tells a lot, a whole 'parallel' world is created in which the headlines of history are still there (at least at the beginning) and magic is something that is accepted really easily (though with some scepticism; but who would you blame for that). It also is a story about England in that time (first half of 19th century) and different class-layers. And then there is the magic, it was special and I liked it and liked to read about it.* The magic didn't seem like an easy plot device to help the main characters save the day, which I often find annoying when reading Fantasy. I really hope there will be a second volume of it, for there are still a lot of questions left!

 

The writing style was also very good. For me, it felt as if Susanna Clarke has tried to capture the early 19th century not only in her story but also in here writing. It was such a pleasure to read!

 

*Which brings to me to my favourite part of the books: The footnotes. The whole book is full of these 'little' (some are multiple pages long) notes, explaining the basic facts about society and magic, which we would have known, had we lived there and then. It almost looked more like a history than a novel this way. And a very good plus is that now there were no weird forced conversations to explain these things to the readers.