Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a fantastic book. I was sure I wouldn’t like it. A Georgian social comedy, in the style of Jane Austen, according to the cover. Fantastic, I thought. I hate that style. I hate Austen.
I loved it.
Brimming with footnotes, some of which flow well past the chapters that they originated in, full of wit and the history of English magic.
The book flows, even at over 1000 pages, there was a moment in the novel where I just stopped, put the book down and could only say ‘fucking hell.’ That almost never happens.
Susanna Clarke has nailed the comedy of manners in this book, and as both Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell flit (or stomp) through polite society, interacting with some of the more famous personages of the age, from George III to Lord Byron, Lord Wellington and Sir Henry Walpole.