Why this book?
I can’t resist a good alternative history novel. This is a book you can and should get lost in. I love the world that Susanna Clarke creates, a Napoleonic War-era England where magic is a subject only for historians until the two title characters revive it, teaching themselves to become the first real English magicians in hundreds of years. Clarke makes magic entirely convincing by having her characters conduct passionate scholarly arguments over spells, and by exploring the tension between the magic learned from books and the wild magic of this and other worlds. Her writing is devilishly brilliant, pitch-perfect in its Austenian restraint and wit. A funny, spooky, exciting novel.
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Why should I read it?
18 authors picked Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
Two magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of…