Monday, December 03, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 97 -- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

Started: Dec. 3
Finished: Dec. 31

Amazon link: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Notes: I have heard a very many good things about this novel of two magicians in early 19th Century England. I've heard this is a great young adult book. I've also heard it's great adult literary work. Can it be both? Or more? I'll have to find out for myself.

Mini review: Over all, I didn't care much for it. It's a decent book, but I felt overly lengthy with the plot meandering around all over the place and sometimes seeming to disappear altogether for a while before getting back on track. More bad: I didn't care for hardly any of the characters, finding very few of them worth my appreciation. The good: The descriptions of the locales throughout Europe I found quite nice, brief enough so I did not become bored but also providing enough information to keep my interest. Also, the last 40 or so pages were much better than any of the rest of the story, though I still did not feel the payoff was quite worth it, especially after I'd waded through 800 pages already. The writing style is accessible, easy to read, but often it seems to go on for long periods without saying much of anything important, without seeming to move the plot forward. Also, the writing style reminded me much of several 19th Century authors, specifically Dickens, of whom I'm not a fan, which my explain my lack of enthusiasm about this novel.

1 comment:

Paul R. McNamee said...

I enjoyed that one. It's a whole different pace and style from - say, Harry Potter - but I thought it was very good.

I saw a headline just this week that it might be getting a BBC television adaptation.