Booktober 23rd: “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Wikipedia

[This is Day 23 of #Booktober! Stay tuned for more recommendations!]

What It Is: A sprawling magical urban fantasy and alternative history novel set in early-19th-century England, in which two magicians’ battle of egos and enchantments lead to disastrous consequences for all involved

Why You Should Read It: This strange and marvelous novel has been described as a cross between Jane Austen and JK Rowling, with a little Charles Dickens thrown in. I think that is a fair analogy. This book has the tone and feel of classic literature, but with the added layer of hundreds (!) of footnotes referencing books and writers who exist only in the world of the story. As a fan of copious footnotes, this was incredibly addicting to me. The story seems to weave in elements of Romantic poets, medieval myths, and historical biography in a way that feels bizarre and yet believable. The main focus of the story is the friendship and eventual rivalry between the conservative and traditional Mr. Norrell and the young upstart magician Jonathan Strange. The battle of these two mindsets and worldviews spills over to change the course of the lives of everyone in their spheres. Cozy up with this one by the fire this winter. It’ll be a treat.

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