Book Review: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel

“And how shall I think of you?’ He considered a moment and then laughed. ‘Think of me with my nose in a book!”

This is one review that will be very short and I know most people will not like my views. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke is a very very long book. Picking it up in itself is a task but I did pick it up and start reading it.

It begins with a group of men who call themselves The Learned Society of York Magicians. They hold meetings and discuss magic but never ever think about practising magic. They are aghast to hear about a practical magician and even more shocked when the said magician proves that magic exists. And thus, we meet Mr Norrel. Now, Mr Norrel is very serious, very unfriendly and boring. But he can do magic and that’s more than enough for everyone. He recalls a cabinet minister’s fiancé from dead and becomes a famous magician in London.

Then comes Jonathan Strange who has heard a lot about Mr Norrel. Mr Norrel takes up Jonathan Strange as his pupil but doesn’t teach him everything he knows. People find dealing with Strange easier and his popularity grows.

There are many footnotes in the novel that I did not appreciate much. Many parts of the book sound like a history lesson for the English and frankly I found many pages irrelevant to the story. A lot more pace, a few less characters and even less history lessons and maybe I would have liked the book. Some characters seem to have no real connection to the men in lead.

There are many who have loved this book but I did not. There was really no need for this book to be so huge. I really wish I could have left it in the middle but I finished it. For that I am proud of myself.

My rating: 1/5

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