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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec , 2005 7:50 pm 
Another bright red day
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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke, is one of the best books I have ever read. Or, more precisely, it is one of my favourite.
I decided this after I finished page two.
I finished the book last night and even after 782 pages, found nothing to change my mind.

I love EVERYTHING about this book. I loved the historical footnotes. I loved the characters. I loved the author's style and dry sense of humour and irony. I loved the twistings of the plot and how it all came together. Everything.

It is a book that I feel the need to discuss, and knowning no one who has read it, I turn to you all. There is so much there . . . the mirrors and Vinculus and John Uskglass and the ravens and the darkness, that I cannot just sit and sort it out in my own mind because everything gets all jumbled up.

I shall need to read it again, to figure things out and put the pieces together, but for now, here are some thoughts, which do contain spoilers.


Although the book is called Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, I think that perhaps it is really about John Uskglass. Vinculus, I believe, says that Strange and Norrell are just a spell that Uskglass is doing. What I could not figure out was what the spell was, what it was for. Was it to release those imprisoned in Lost-Hope?

My favourite character, I think, was John Childermass. He was dark and wry and wonderful. I wish he had been in the book more, but at the same time, I think his character would not have worked so well if he had been. He seems to hold much of the story together, though I'm not entirely sure how. But it can't be coincedence that he is the one who discovered Vinculus, who is found by John Uskglass. Perhaps because he is the only one of the three who is truly loyal?

Just a few thoughts for now. I'm still sorting things out in my head.

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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec , 2005 9:05 pm 
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I'm reading this book right now, but I find that I have to put it down now and again and then come back to it later. It is very well written, but that kind of faux-ancient style is wearing on me, I confess. I do like the characters, though, the author has a knack of making them pop to life very quickly without much exposition.

Plus, the worst thing is, right now I have no proper reading lamp, my lamp blew its little guts out and I'm reading by the light of a wretched bedroom lamp on an end table and little print is a pain to read.


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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec , 2005 4:21 am 
Fading Softly
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Vison - :hug:

Brilliant book. I've actually forced my copy on a number of people since I read it last year. They all thank me later. :love: :D


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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec , 2005 4:35 am 
Another bright red day
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Vison, I know what you mean. There were times when I couldn't take it all in at once. I hope your lamp gets fixed soon!

Then, of course, there were the times when I couldn't have put it down if the fire alarm had gone off because someone was making popcorn, come hell or high water. :love:

Quote:
They all thank me later.


As well they should! You didn't force anything on them . . . you opened their eyes to a new and wonderful book.

:love:

Edit: They're already making a movie! To be directed by Christopher Hampton and produced by the author along with someone else. Currently writing a script, no cast. I am apprehensive, yet excited.

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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec , 2005 1:49 pm 
Fading Softly
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I read a short story by the author last Halloween. It appears she's consistently brilliant. :) :Q


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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec , 2005 6:00 am 
Another bright red day
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I can't say I'm suprised. Considering that her first novel won a Hugo . . . :Q What was it called? I'd love to read more of her stuff. :)

You said over on HoF that you'd be happy to discuss (yay!), but I don't want to spoil anything for those who said they might read it, so I'll post over here.

What did you think of the ending? The giant raven and Vinculus's book changing? What *was* the spell that John Uskglass was doing? I really need to reread this book! There's just too much to absorb in one reading.

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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec , 2005 7:36 pm 
Fading Softly
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JS and MN was her first novel, as far as I know.

I think I need a reread too, before any good discussion can occur.:P


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PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec , 2005 5:19 am 
Another bright red day
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Mea culpa. :oops: I meant the name of the story you read. :)

I want to reread already and I just finished! But there are so many other books . . .

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PostPosted: Sun 01 Jan , 2006 9:59 pm 
Another bright red day
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"LOS ANGELES– New Line Cinema has hired Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) to adapt the bestselling British fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for the big screen.

i-Newswire, 2005-03-04 - Based on author Susanna Clarke’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell tells the story of two feuding magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon and combines the dark mythological fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien with the social comedy of Jane Austen.

“Christopher's immense wit and intelligence make him ideally suited to adapt this brilliant, rich novel,â€

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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan , 2006 2:13 am 
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I'm currently reading it, and am enchanted. I love the style, so close to the stuff I researched, and my town is mentioned once, as the town where a school for magicians could be founded, in a house belonging to the Duke of Devonshire (IIRC)! :D

I'm more than halfway through, after Strange has found the King's Roads behind the looking-glasses. Fascinating idea. :)

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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan , 2006 8:51 am 
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The book has been sitting like a brick on my to-read bookshelf (yes, I categorize :oops: ) but I felt too intimidated by its bulk to pick up and read.
Reading the reviews here makes me more courageous. And if you say that it's worth straining my arm muscles for it, then I may give it a go one of these days - while I am still on holiday.

I was browsing on my fav bookshop the other day, looking for books to buy as gifts for Xmas and I saw that they have a new editiong of JS+MN that comes in three volumes - the reader friendly edition, I guess.


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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan , 2006 7:18 pm 
Another bright red day
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Andri, don't let the size daunt you. It goes by really fast. And yes, it's huge but once you get into it you'll *want* to lug it around. :P

Berhael wrote:
so close to the stuff I researched


Would you care to expand on that? I'd be interested to hear about it.

Quote:
after Strange has found the King's Roads behind the looking-glasses. Fascinating idea.


I love that, as well--the idea of all of roads and the world behind the looking glass. One of my favourite parts. :)

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PostPosted: Wed 04 Jan , 2006 8:33 am 
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OK, I am convinced!

I took a big breath and removed the book from its shelf. I opened it and started the journey.

Hey, it even got pictures in it!!!!!!!

Interesting stuff - so far.

I'd better get back to my reading. See you!


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PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan , 2006 8:30 am 
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I have reached the point where Mr N has established himself in London society. He did his trick with the French navy and he is editing his journal.

I can't say I am very excited about the book. It feels strange because it resembles a 19th century novel in the little incidents that are described that do not move the plot but are there to enrich the story and the various characters presented that are again not essential to the plot.
At the same time, the language used and the style do not have the richness or elegance of those novels.

I will keep on reading of course to see where the plot leads to.

Ber - I found the bit where Lemmington Spa is mentioned!! I thought imeediately of you and your post. :)


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PostPosted: Tue 17 Jan , 2006 7:27 am 
Another bright red day
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!!!!!!

Susanna Clarke is apparently working on another novel set in the same 'world.' There's speculation, which I agree with, that it will be ablout Childermass and Vinculus. Childermass was possibly my favourite character, and we definitely haven't heard the end of the book. I would love it if she wrote a book about those two! :D

:sunny:

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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jan , 2006 1:36 pm 
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I just finished reading this novel two nights ago, having found it to be a most agreeable romp.

Vison, I sympathise with your irritation where the "faux-ancient style" was concerned. If she wrote "shewing" One More Time!

Also in some places, I found the characterisation a little patchy, and I do like a strong character. Perhaps that was an asset in some ways - the hunger to find out more about Childermass kept me going with the narrative lagged - but in others I found it inhibited my ability to engage on an emotional level.

Nonetheless, I thought it was an excellent read in imaginative terms. Considering my distrust of fantasy, that's no mean accolade!

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan , 2006 4:00 am 
Another bright red day
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Leoba wrote:
Perhaps that was an asset in some ways - the hunger to find out more about Childermass kept me going with the narrative lagged - but in others I found it inhibited my ability to engage on an emotional level.


:yes:

Childermass was easily my favourite character in the book. He was mysterious and intriguing and all around wonderful and well written. I really hope he shows up in Clarke's next book, as I still want to know more about him!

Which characters did you think weren't well developed? Strange and Norrell were, to my mind, very real and fleshed out. Arabella and Stephen Black and the Gentleman were well written as well.

Now I want to read it again. There are too many books out there. :help:

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Last edited by MaidenOfTheShieldarm on Tue 31 Jan , 2006 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue 31 Jan , 2006 11:47 am 
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I've just started it Mossy. I'm about 40 pages in so far and avoiding spoilers. Don't let that curb what anyone writes though. It must be very hard to keep up that style without putting a foot wrong and I am guessing that the author is in love with the language of the time. It does allow for delicate irony though. I'm sufficiently intrigued to want to keep going.

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PostPosted: Thu 17 Aug , 2006 11:04 pm 
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I'm definitely going to find this book.

Andri: Glad to hear I'm not the only person who sorts my books like that. :) My "to-read" shelf is right by my computer. :D

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Aug , 2006 9:54 pm 
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I found this book at my local Wally World for $6. I think this is the first time I've EVER seen them selling books. Seriously..

Anyways, I'm probably a day away from starting it...I want to finish the book I'm reading now before I start a new one.

So excited.

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