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It's 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke's ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke--and it's not all fairy dust. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Starred Review. There may be no better marriage of talents than that of Clarke and Prebble. The former spins an enchanting, epic tale of English magic in the age of Napoleon, and the latter brings it to life—footnotes and all—with a full-bodied voice, skill and aplomb that rivals that of noted narrator Jim Dale. Set in a world where the study of theoretical magic is common, but the practice of it is unheard of, this sweeping narrative follows the exploits of England's only two practical magicians, the bookish Mr. Norrell and the affable Jonathan Strange, as they struggle to revive the country's magic in very different ways. Mr. Norrell is content to publish opaque, opinionated pieces on magic's uses and misuses, but Strange is fascinated by the legend and lore of the Raven King, the so-called father of English magic. The voices Prebble lends these two disparate characters nicely reflects their personalities—Norrell's voice is brittle and sometimes shrill, but Strange's is pleasant and ironic. As the two magicians labor together to defeat Napoleon and then separately to pursue their own ends, an elusive faerie known only as the "gentleman with the Thistledown hair" watches and schemes. Clarke's novel likely contains close to 100, if not more, characters, and Prebble juggles them all with ease. Although the heavy price of this audiobook may deter some listeners, there's no better way to experience the material than to hear it performed by such a consummate actor. Based on the Bloomsbury hardcover
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Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a modern novel that returns to a classic style. The author's voice is conversational, talking of society, of propriety, and how the events of a... Read morePublished 8 hours ago by C. Matthews
Wonderfully exciting, dark at times but well woven into the suspense. Hard to let go of as it read as a constant companion. I felt the end was weak and needed work.Published 13 hours ago by tp sheehan
Even if this book was about nothing, I would still have loved it. The narrator is so light and charming, you can't help but enjoy reading. Fortunately, it's not about nothing. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by KMack
I positively dote upon Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and eagerly await whatever further revelations Ms Clarke may chuse to share with us.Published 4 days ago by J MICHAEL ROBERTS
This is a masterful piece of work that I hope is done justice on television. I can't stress how wonderful I found the footnotes. Read morePublished 4 days ago by moogman2268
Reading along with watching the new TV series. Very creative and imaginative and a wonderful read.Published 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
These two guys were they ying and yang of magic in a fantastic story of magic in 1860's England. Magic had been lost and is refound by these two guys and chaos ensues. Read morePublished 7 days ago by flowerfrog