Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

by Charlotte Reads Classics

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke

After bumbling through the first half of this book at an agreeable (but slow) pace, I caught a cold. The past two days have been spent in a mad devouring, delirious kind of reading – this book has enchanted me.

Susanna Clarke is a complete legend. She has crafted her tale expertly, particularly when it comes to her alternative history of England. I love books that mix the real and the fantastic, and I love it even more when they do it believably. The tone of all the myths and stories were just right – I kept forgetting and trying to remember if I’d heard of them before. The legend of the Raven King fits perfectly into the English historical landscape. The images of the ravens and the fields remind me of childhood holidays in the countryside.

I’ve had this book for a while without managing to psyche myself into starting it. I finally began to read after reading The Night Circus. The inside jacket of the book described it as like Angela Carter, Audrey Niffenegger and Susanna Clarke. Clarke was the last in the trinity so it seemed like I was bound to love this really.

Throughout the whole book I kept thinking that nothing was obvious. Clarke doesn’t pick the spells you’d expect, the myths you’d expect, or even the places you’d expect. Obviously I can’t talk about the ending but hell yeah. It is a satisfying one.

This weekend I must take a trip. I need the northern landscape, moors and paths through the heather.