Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
From Library Staff
Think that being a wizard is all splash and glamor? Well, sometimes it is. Other times it is uptight and musty. Or dangerous.
In a recent interview, Grossman mentions this title as an example of how fantasy fiction and literary fiction need not be mutually exclusive.
In this alternate-history version of England, the Napoleonic Wars are fought and won with the help of two very different magicians. This is the kind of big, wonderful, imaginative book you can get lost in for a long time. As of 08/14, it's also available on audiobook, both on CD and downloadable... Read More »
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic.
In nineteenth-century England, all is going well for rich, reclusive Mr Norell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil. Available on e-book.
From the critics
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It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry. Imagine then the interest that surrounded Miss Wintertowne! No young lady ever had such advantages before: for she died upon the Tuesday, was raised to life in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was married upon the Thursday; which some people thought too much excitement for one week.
what the other servants did not know was that the new manservant had a temper . . . that he was sometimes sarcastic, often rude, and that he had a very high opinion of his own abilities and a correspondingly low one of other people’s. The new manservant did not mention his failings to the other servants for the simple reason that he knew nothing of them. Though he often found himself quarrelling with his friends and neighbours, he was always puzzled to discover the reason and always supposed that it must be their fault.
On the second day Strange sat down to write another fifty of so pages and immediately got into difficulties because he could not think of a rhyme for ‘let love suffice’. ‘Sunk in vice’ was not promising; ‘a pair of mice’ was nonsense, and ‘what’s the price?’ merely vulgar. He struggled for an hour, could think of nothing, went for a ride to loosen his brains and never looked at his poem again.
The pattern of the pools had meaning. The pools had been written on to the field by the rain. The pools were a magic worked by the rain, just as the tumbling of the black birds against the grey was a spell that the sky was working and the motion of grey-brown grasses was a spell that the wind made. Everything had meaning.
“Of course one never really knows what servants are thinking,” continued Mr Norrell blithely, forgetting that he was speaking to one at that moment . . .
It was raining outside and, what was more surprizing, inside too;
But it sometimes happens that when one acts quickly and with great resolve, all the indecisiveness and doubt comes afterwards, when it is too late.
To a magician there is very little difference between a mirror and a door.
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