This is one of the finest fantasy books I've ever read. In fact, with its dark, classical magic, rich history, and elegant writing, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of the best novels I've read hands down. Don't let the length deter you--by the time you get to the last page, you'll be aching for more.
--Kelly— From Kelly
In the Hugo-award winning, epic New York Times Bestseller and basis for the BBC miniseries, two men change England's history when they bring magic back into the world.
In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars in 1806, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England - until the reclusive Mr. Norrell reveals his powers and becomes an overnight celebrity.
Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician, the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome, and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.
Susanna Clarke's brilliant first novel is an utterly compelling epic tale of nineteenth-century England and the two magicians who, first as teacher and pupil and then as rivals, emerge to change its history.
"Ravishing…superb…combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien."
"Clarke welcomes herself into an exalted company of British writers--not only, some might argue, Dickens and Austen, but also the fantasy legends Kenneth Grahame and George MacDonald--as well as contemporary writers like Susan Cooper and Philip Pullman."
"What kind of magic can make an 800-page novel seem too short? Whatever it is, debut author Susanna Clarke is possessed by it, and her astonished readers will surely hope she never recovers."
"The most sparkling literary debut of the year…Susanna Clarke's magic is universal."
"Combining folklore and fantasy with horror-story imagination, [Clarke] creates a Napoleonic-era England alive with the promise--and danger--of uncontrollable forces…Clarke's sober style keeps the fantasy grounded, and meticulous historical research brings the magical episodes to terrifying life. This is a gorgeous book of unforgettable images."
"Thoroughly enchanting…In a fantastically paced conclusion, the ominous horror of what's preying on England comes into focus, even as the setting shifts into the cloudy world of enchantment that Clarke captures with such haunting effect."
"Many books are to be read, some are to be studied, and a few are meant to be lived in for weeks. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is of this last kind...Magnificent and original."
"Susanna Clarke's great fat tale of the rebirth of magic in 19th-century England has a rambling ground plan, a decorous diction, and a politely crazed investment in ornate cornices. Here is a writer who remembers that true fairy tales carry a sting and the creatures themselves were never properly domesticated to the nursery. Her uncanny book is an object lesson in the pleasures--and risks--of enchantment."
"An instant classic, one of the finest fantasies ever written."
"Extraordinary…Will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike."
"Absolutely compelling. An astonishing achievement."
-Charles Palliser, author of The Quincunx
"Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. It's funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow--from beginning to end, a perfect pleasure."
-Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman series and American Gods