Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Wizards of England
on 29 August 2010
Jonathen Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. At page 200 I am still struggling to get into this! It is my Book Group book for summer 2010, and I am not alone in it not catching on. Many of the others are on the point of rebellion!
Some authors write very well but are too self indulgent. Susannah has long footnotes which give background. Probably it helps to read these, and as a historian I use them in non fiction, but I don't want to work so hard with my fiction.
I am continuing to read only because a good friend says it took time for her to get into it, and later she loved it. I have to confess I did not like Wolfhall either. Perhaps that will help you work out whether to read it or not. Wolfhall is like a richly jewelled Elizabethan gown, but lacks a story line to hold your interest. This book does a similar thing. Undoubtedly it paints a very believable picture of the period, and magic is a risky topic for adults, so the author is brave and competent, but I feel she is teasing, and immersing herself in her own world without caring whether we follow or not.