- Audio CD
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (17 November 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1593977417
- ISBN-13: 978-1593977412
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 8.9 x 14.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 726 g
- Customer Reviews: 1,405 customer ratings
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged
|New from||Used from|
Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
About the Author
SUSANNA CLARKE was born in Nottingham, England, in 1959, the eldest daughter of a Methodist minister. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of nonfiction publishing. Susanna lives in Cambridge with her partner, the novelist and reviewer Colin Greenland.
SIMON PREBBLE, a veteran British narrator and performer of considerable experience and talent, has enjoyed a varied career from soap opera to Shakespeare. One of AudioFile's lauded "Golden Voices," he has recorded over 250 audiobooks and his performances have received critical acclaim both in the U.S. and the U.K.
Customers who bought this item also bought these eBooks
Review this product
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is a heavy, lengthy tome, the writing is quite dense and full of footnote asides, the vocabulary at times archaic and for those who like neat endings this one will probably leave some readers deeply unsatisfied.
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Drama, tragedy, comedy and thoroughly English. This is a 21st century novel that seamlessly slots in to 19th century canon.
Read a bit of it and if you like it keep going, or if you don't then stop, the book doesn't really change so you reading a few pages will quickly determine whether you should invest time in the remaining ~800.
Not as pacey as Harry Potter, but for those who like something magical this is going to appeal.
Top international reviews
If you have the patience, or are a fan of 18th and 19th century fiction, then buy it! Buy it now! It's fabulous. There's a rich fictional history that is slowly exposed through footnotes, alongside a story of two deeply flawed men, each blundering along a magical path they believe they understand, but which is utterly obscured from their view. There are no obvious heroes or villains here. No clearcut moral values. Mistakes are made and consequences felt.
It's rare I'll read a book that has me exclaiming aloud at the actions of a character, knowing that it will cause mayhem and yet having only the dimmest notion what the consequences will be. It's even rarer to read something where I truly don't know where it's going. There's no wellworn literary path here, no tired story tropes.
Without saying too much and spoiling it I don't know what else to say. Just buy it. Do it now.
I watched the first 2 episodes of this book on T.V. recently and thought ..."that looks interesting" so I bought it and gave up on the t.v. show so I didn't spoil the story.
After about 125 pages of the 850+ pages of the tale I nearly threw in the towel. I wondered what it was all about and what a strange form of writing.
The author can spend almost half a page describing "how a door opened" or "the surface of a path"with very odd spelling as well. Anyway I stuck with it, it had a few good little tales within the story but overall it was a very odd book. Today at 6.30 I finished it..!!!! I am none the wiser as to what was going on .I gave up on "Wolf Hall" like many other people, that was hard work like this one.
It could have been a great little read if it had been reduced to about 350 pages...Sorry Susanna..
Dressed in an oriental robe and a white skin-suit scribbled all over with the predictions of a medieval English magician, I cried out those lines in a fit of madness.
I was playing Vinculus, a character in the amazing, intriguing and compelling book called Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. A group of 10 of us, all lovers of this 1000 page (if you include the copious footnotes) work of magical fiction, had gathered together to enact, discuss and explore this amazing achievement. Acting out a huge piece of fantasy is not as daunting as it may seem; the same group of people have acted out Tolkien’s work and all of Homer’s, using a three day period to do so. In that time, we eat, dress and sleep the book in question.
Susanna Clarke writes about her invented world with such ease; it’s easy to believe England could really be like this – filled with magic and romance. It has been described as 'Harry Potter for grownups’ but that really does not do this eloquent and momentous work justice, although adults who adored Harry Potter will be impressed with the rich characterization and the great finale to the story.
Clarke has a flair for language, utilising the right words at all the right moments. She chose for her style an emulation of Jane Austin, (including archaic spellings). Some passages made me laugh aloud – Austin was funny, and here is another layer spread upon that ironic wit.
I’m not alone in loving the book; Neil Gaiman said, Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years. It's funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical...
This was Clarke's first book, although she’d prepared the ground by writing some short stories set in her parallel universe – a world that has the same history as our own, except for the fact that England was once filled with magic and magicians, and the North of England was ruled separately, by the Raven King – John Uskglass – a man who had been spirited away to fairyland as a child and returned full of fairy magic.
But all that was centuries ago. When the book starts in1806, England is struggling with the Napoleonic war, and practical magic has faded into the nation's past – now magic is only studied ‘theoretically’. But two of these students discover that Mr Norrell can really do magic. He’s studied the books all his life, and his displays of magic lead him, and his mysterious servant, John Childermass, from the north of the country to the bustling city of London. After he successfully brings a beautiful woman back from the dead and terrifies the French army with a fleet of ghostly ships, he is taken to the bosom of the rich and fashionable. Gilbert Norrell is dedicated to book-learning and he's trying desperately to ignore and forget that in raising Lady Pole from the dead, he has awaken an amoral fairy king, who is now strutting around our world, enchanting people. When Jonathan Strange, the 2nd magician in the prophecy emerges, a dangerous battle of wills begins. Strange is young, dashing and daring, and not at all interested in only learning magic from books. While Norell, a reclusive and cautious man, is trying to get rid of any taint of dangerous fairy magic, Strange is actively bringing it back. He has no idea what a menace the fairy king posses, especially to his own lovely wife.
I was soon hooked on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell the first time I read it, even though you need to get through at least the first 200 pages to even begin to see where the plot is going. Reading it again for the weekend event made me love it even more. All its depth and humour and the true cleverness of the carefully crafted plot became even more clear. One thing I really loved was the vast history of magic Clarke invents for England. Long after I finished it, I was still thinking about the menacing settings, the wonderful characters, the brilliant narrative development and the history she creates.
Of course, I also watched the TV series, now available both in the UK and the US to watch again. Bertie Carvel who plays Jonathan Strange so well, said; I read it years ago and loved it … They've preserved the scale and majesty of the story … So you have credible, fully imagined characters recognisably of the same world we inhabit. Paul Kaye, who played my chosen character in the film said, I read the book and loved it. It sort of obsessed me for a while and I felt an affinity with what turned out to be my character, Vinculus. I found the footnotes addictive! If there wasn't one on the next page I would be disappointed. This review first appeared at [...]
This is a very well written debut novel, the world Clarke creates with spells and enchanted stories is spectacular. There is a lot of footnotes throughout the novel, if the characters refer to a story or a person a footnote usually follows. Some spread over a page or two, sometimes longer and whilst they were really interesting different stories or explanations I did find them quite distracting after a while.
The magic that is performed is impressive and would be wonderful to see on the big screen. The characters are so well carved out you get a good feel and impression, very early on. Throughout the book there is also quite a few drawings which I thought was a wonderful touch and I haven't seen anything like that before. Overall a good read, albeit I honestly felt had there been so many different stories within the footnotes that were good but had more time been invested with Mr Norrell & Mr Strange it would have been more than a three star for me. I would love this author to do a follow up novel to see what the magicians are doing now and how their story unfolded. 3/5 for me and I would definitely read a follow up if she ever created one.
As far as the book is concerned, it is long and the writing style is very much a modern take on a 19th century writing style. A tour de force on the part of Susanna Clarke. If you like long 19th century novels and you aren't daunted by the likes of Dickens or Trollope you'll probably enjoy this. If that sort of writing is anathema to you then you'll probably hate it. The other aspect of the book that I notice some people hated was the numerous footnotes. This was such a stumbling block for some people that I admit that I approached the footnotes with some caution and did not read by any means all of them. It isn't necessary to read the footnotes to follow and enjoy the story so if you find them a distraction then you could safely ignore them. I personally enjoyed the book although I can understand why some people hated it!
Only so many things were missing. The titular characters, for starters, lacked any endearing qualities. Norrell is a narcissist; stuffy, reclusive and self-absorbed, while Strange is manic, patronising and infuriatingly single-minded. The rest of the cast - lots of wives, manservants and soldiers - are much of a muchness and I formed no opinion of them. To be fair, the writing was punchy and elaborate, the magical feats the characters performed spectacular and ingenious, and the style of the writing - a kind of impartial documentation, packed with footnotes, asides and anecdotes - was doubtless an incredible feat and any author should consider themselves very lucky to have crafted such a detailed history.
Unfortunately the book left me cold. I never felt any great affection for any of the characters and the ending, while logical and believable, left me a little dissatisfied. I would be hard pressed to find a reason to read any possible sequel or spin-off, and the book even put me off watching the serial as well. Nonetheless, Ms. Clarke has created an impressive work and I'll be interested to see what she does next.
Yes, there is the occasional lapse in narrative energy but on the whole this is a glorious, glorious success of a book rather than a modest achievement. I simply didn't want it to end but like all good novels, it hasn't really has it? It joins, (and combines elements of) in my opinion, Erin Morgenstern's 'The Night Circus' Michael Wharton's 'Salamander', and Randolph Stow's 'The Girl Green as Elderflower' in making up a quartet of novels which on no account should be missed for their abilities to depict enchantment, wonder and, well - magic!
I am desperately hoping she will write a sequel! I now have Strange and Norrell withdrawal symptoms! I am reading 'The ladies of grace adieu' now which I am enjoying but really want to read a sequel!
I can see why it was made into a BBC drama as it is quite episodic in nature, like lots of small stories in a row. I can see why another reviewer said reading it was like putting on comfy slippers and smoking a pipe- it is a really relaxing, indulging read. It is a bit like Dickens, but I think the writing style is better!
Finally, I used the kindle version and it is easy to read the footnotes- you just click on the superscript number and the box opens (in reply to other reviewers who wondered how Kindle would deal with this).
I read this book a few years ago, and while I enjoyed it enough to remember it when looking for a Christmas present for a friend (and then borrow a copy for myself, because I wanted to reread it), I don't think I was old enough then to fully appreciate it. But being an absolute mythology nerd with a particular interest in fairies, I couldn't really see how this book could disappoint me.
And it didn't. It's so in depth and detailed and all of the characters have so many different aspects to them--aspects that make you continually change whether you're a Norrellite or a Strangeite, aspects that make you question everything...
Not to mention the prose. There were moments of sheer beauty. Quotes that had me staring at it and wondering how on earth Susanna Clarke managed that in her first novel. Descriptions that stayed with me hours, days after I read them. If I could write like that, I would ... well, I don't know. I'd write like that. :D
Oh, and that's not to mention how cinematic it feels at times. I mean, it'd be a monster to make into a film, because of the length and complexity, but at the same time, it would work so well if there was a director who could pull it off. With a good actor, [SPOILER!] Strange's madness [/END SPOILER] would be absolutely chilling. Just reading it gave me such a clear picture in my mind that I wanted to draw it and was only sorry that I'm not capable of that.
I don't really know what to say about this book. It's not for people who want fast-paced action. It's not for people who want a book they can read on the train, unless they have a Kindle edition, as it weighs half a ton. It's for people who loved The Night Circus, who are interested in folklore, who like interpretations of magic that are different fresh, who like complex characters, and who want historical settings painted with such clarity that they can see them in their mind's eye.
Very, very highly recommended.