Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Cover

A Fantastic Victorian Adventure


Susanna Clarke's debut novel is such a delight to read. The style reads perfectly like a classic Victorian novel, with all the flourish of prose and clever wit. What is more the setting and plot play out like something straight out of Jane Austin, except, of course, that there are wizards.

In many ways Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an examination of what Victorian England would have been like if their had been wizards. The society gossips about the wizards, and attempts to form strict rules of propriety for them, in an absolutely convincing manner.

All of the characters in the novel should be enjoyable to anyone with a taste for Austin, Bronte or Dickens. What is more, it has one of the best portrayals of a devilish fairy that I have ever read.

The reader should be warned, however, that the plot is slow moving and the novel is long, and while there are certainly perils which beset the characters, they are not at all of the epic variety. Indeed, one friend of mine commented that I could use the book as a shield because "nobody ever gets through it." I certainly enjoyed it greatly, but it's not for everyone, but if you like the Victorian novel, and you like fantasy stories, then you will love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.