Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
(Tor Books, 2006, 1006 pages)
It took me a long time to get through this book but I liked every minute of it. It’s not a page turner but it’s well written and it’s interesting to see how the return of magic to England plays out. The middle section, where Strange get involved in helping the English army during the Napoleonic wars, gets a little tedious but picks up when he starts investigating the “wildest” forms of magic. Jonathan Strange is no angel but the character of Mr. Norrell is particularly off-putting, bringing to mind those people we all know that are nitpicking and conniving but hold themselves up as exemplary individuals.
“At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England–until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.
Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.” – Amazon.com