Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell : A Novel
By Susanna Clarke

If you can’t tell by the spelling of her last name, the author is British. If you haven’t figured that out by the second or third page of this book, you are most likely extremely dense. Strange & Norrell is infused with olde spelling of olde english words. As an American used to the American perversion of the English Language, I found it somewhat hard to read this book. My mind couldn’t seem to get over the spelling of the words. The fairly common “Choose” became “Chuse” and “Surprised” became “Surprized”.

The plot of the novel is not exactly what I was expecting. Being a big Harry Potter fan, I initially expected that the novel would be very potterish. I was pleasantly surprized to find that it wasn’t anything near a Potter novel.

The story begins with the “York Magicians Society”, a learned society of intellectuals that do not practice magic, but merely read about it. Enter Gilbert Norrell. A practicing magician that in one fell swoop disbands the York Magical Society and goes about his goal of bringing “practical” magic back to England.

The book goes on to tell of Jonathan Strange who becomes Norrell’s only pupil. The two turn out to be very different magicians from one another and makes for the main contrast of the plot.

The addition of a seemingly crazy street magician and the “Raven King”(The greatest magician England has ever seen) make for many twists and turns.

Overall, the book was one of those books that is a long read. Not because it is a bad read, but it is over 750 pages long. And it is tight print.

An excellent read.

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About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. I finished reading this about two months ago. It was excellent. And you’re right, it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting going in.

    If you’re looking for another good book, I’m about 3/4’s of the way through Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys, and it is good. His American Gods is excellent too, if you haven’t read it.

  2. I actually have American Gods sitting on my bookshelf, but the new Harry Potter trumped it. 🙂

  3. Ok, sounds interesting to me. I’m a magician, so I do like books about magic. York Magicians Society, that doesn’t even do any magic sounds strange! I guess that’s the idea though right.
    I’ll have to try to get a copy of this.