Jan 18, 2014

The best book I've read in 2013: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke

wo magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me ...

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.

It wasn't hard at all to decide which is the best book I read in 2013. That's for sure Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell. I borrowed the above from Bloomsbury. I'm a big fan of the magic realism genre. This not a new book as it has originally been published in 2005, but with books that's not the most important. I bought my copy at the Bookdepository and I enjoyed every page. And there are a lot of pages I can assure you. This is not an easy read. If you expect something like Harry Potter, then you're mistaken as it's not. The book has been written like most of the great English classics. It's funny and it's complex. I loved the footnotes, they made me laugh out loud plenty of times. It's one of the most memorable books I've ever read and I'm going to read it again for sure. The book's quite heavy, so buying a digital copy might be a good plan if you want to keep reading for many conclusive hours.
 I fell in love with the boring Mr. Norell and the adventurous Jonathan Strange. They were both extremes and their characters kept clashing. I could picture myself there, as it was all so brilliantly described. The only downside for the author is, how is she ever going to write anything that will come near this again? The book is almost too good.

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